- Arts and Design
The best drawings of animals by famous artists
Amazing drawings made by famous artists
Although animals play a huge role in our daily life, it is surprisingly how underestimated the animal is in the art. It is not often that you will find an animal themed exhibition of drawings or paintings. Mostly galleries organized exhibitions around themes more closely related to isms..
But if you look closely, you will find that there is a mountain of animal drawings. Many a famous artist drew there own pet. And painters like Rembrandt and Durer even went to the zoo to find the more exotic animals like elephants and rhinos.
Animals have always been good companionship for many city dweller and country man. Cats keeping the mouse away, dogs helping the blind, canaries helping the miners. Many animals shared there lives with us. And saved us many a time, no wonder that they were painted as well.
Famous are the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, everybody knows the man in the circle and square, the Vitruvian Man. But not everybody knows his sketches for horses and cats.
Here on this page I will give you some wonderful drawings of animals made by famous artists. From the tiny mouse up to the majestic Elephant.
Leonardo Da Vinci : A drawing of a dog - Dachshunds - How to draw a dog - Look at da Vinci
How to draw animals
famous animal drawing by Albrecht Durer (Rhino) - The rhino on the brink of extinction.
Drawing of a Rhino by a famous artist : Albrecht Durer.
The Rhino, an impressive animal, almost prehistoric in it's appaerance, it almost looks like a calssic dragon picture with the leather skin.Albrecht Durer drew the animal in 1515, big and untouchable. Like a modern tank.
I have a soft spot for this drawing. It shows the giant rhino in all it's strength with it's pantzer, but it's so fragile, certainly now.
Maybe in ten years all that is left of the famous rhino are the drawings by Albrecht Durer made 500 years ago. Now the original one is on the brink of extinction.
The Elephant by Rembrandt - a famous drawing by Rembrandt
An famous drawing of an elephant
Imagine, it's 1640 and you are living in Amsterdam. A cold damp place with canals and narrow streets. It's the capital of Holland and like many other capitals at the time, like Berlin and London, it build a zoo. To show all the exotic animals that where taken to Amsterdam from the travels to Indonesia up to South America. It's different then, for us, we've been brought up with picture books, full of animals like giraffes, elephants and the Z for Zebra. But not 300 years ago. in the 16th century an elephant must have been special and exotic. A grand beast with big tusks, ears and a trunk!!!
The Lion by Rembrandt - 1650 - Animal drawings - a picture of a lion by Rembrandt
Rembrandt a master painter who loved to draw animals
Rembrandt van Rijn must have been impressed by the new and exotic animals of the zoo "Artis" in Amsterdam. Although there where lions in southern Europe during the Roman Empire. In the 17th century, they where definitely not running in the wild.
Rembrandt was an amazing painter who had the gift of drawing sketches very quickly but with precision and character. His pen and ink drawings are amazing. They are vivid and full off emotion . He was one of the most famous artists during his lifetime and after his death as well. This in contrast of Vincent van Gogh, who became a famous painter only after his death.
Rembrandt made several sketches of animals, and went regulaly to the zoo in Amsterdam which was in the same neighborhood as his studio.
The best drawings of Rembrandt
“You would have to go a long way to find a better guide than Mr. Slive—to understanding Rembrandt and his art.”—The Wall Street Journal.
Leonardo da Vinci - Cats and Dragons - famous animal drawings by Leonardo da Vinci
The famous cats drawings by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci loved to sketch cats and other felines. Around 1470 he worked on a series of different drawings relating to the theme of Maria and the Christ Child, holding a cat. The sketches are studies for a painting and is based upon a legend about a cat being born at the same time as the baby Jesus.
Other drawings with animals are based on the legend of Leda and the Swan. Leonardo made countless sketches of a swan but he actually never finished the painting. The drawings of Leda and the Swan are beautiful though.
Leda and the Swan - Leonardo da Vinci
The cat of Paul Klee - Drawing the cat
The lovely painted cat by Paul Klee
The cat fromPaul Klee is a funny cat, look she has one eye closed and she's dressed all in red. The painting is like a story. Dou you see the man with the big hat and the cape. Walking up the strange steps. And on the other side of the painting is a women she is dressed in red as well.
Mmm. what will happen if the man and the woman meet. Do they know each other, are they a couple ? The cat knows, cats always seem to know what's going on and have the latest gossip. Look at the smirk on the face of the cat. O yes, she's a streetcat although she looks quit sophisticated.
- Durer's Rhino
DÃ¼rer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut executed by German painter and printmaker Albrecht DÃ¼rer in 1515
- Which rhinos do we have left, and how many?
Who are the rest of the rhino family and how are they faring ?
- The Rhino according to Wiki
all about different species of Rhino's
Albrecht Durer - Two Squirrels, One Eating A Hazelnut Giclee
The dogs of David Hockney - a drawing of two dogs
A drawing of a dog by David Hockney
David Hockney is a creative artist, who explored many subjects. from landscape paintings to swimming pools to dogs and 17th century paintings.
His book "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters " is amazing and tells you how painters like Ingres, Rembrandt, Holbein and and many more possibly used Optical devices like lenses,mirrors and the camera obscura to create there stunning realism.
But that said, his ordinary drawings from his pets are incredibly touching. They are projecting such a feeling of innocent and fragility. He drew them, with craftsmanship but above all with love.
Pablo Picasso and the Dog
A famous drawing of the dog Lump.
The story of the picture to the right tells us that when photo journalist David Duncan visited Picasso for a lunch. Picasso asked him if the dog, Lump, had his own plate. Duncan surprised by the question said no. As a response Picasso took a nearby brush and paint and started to paint the plate with an image of Lump. It was the same plate Picasso had eaten his lunch from. Lucky dog.
A goat drawing by Picasso.
Dog By Kiki Smith
The cave drawings of Lascaux are estimated to be 17,300 years old
Fat cats get fatter - a lovely cat drawing by Ronald Searle
Leonardo da vinci and animals
his horse drawings
Besides drawings of cats, lions and dragons, Leonardo made a lot of horse drawings as well. Especially during the time he had an assignment to make a sculpture of a horse.
A sculpture that was commissioned by the duke of Milan around 1482 and had to be the largest horse sculpture ever made.
Although Leonardo made a lot of drawings for the horse sculpture and even made a clay model, the sculpture would never see the day of light. And even the clay model of the horse was destroyed by the French when the invaded Milan in 1499.
The horse drawings luckily survived and they where used 500 years later to make a replica of the sculpture. There is one sculpture in the sculpture park in Grand Rapids,Michigan and one at the Piazza della LibertÃ in Vinci, in Leonardo da Vinci's hometown
Mice by Jacques de Gheyn
Islamic art, animal drawings - Arabic calligraphy images
a famous picture of a Lion - Tiger - An Indian Miniature painting
Indian miniature painting of a Lion
Here is an Indian miniature painting. Of a Tiger, or is it a Lion ? Either way it's a big yellow cat, whose head recalls a lion while the body seems to be that of a tiger, mmm strange...
Lions in Persian paintings of the 17th century were also at times endowed with tiger-like features. The rulers of Kota (South India) especially were great lovers of lion and tiger hunts, and at times a lion may have become confused with a tiger in the artist's imagination.
This drawing is made in the 18th centurary and measures 14.5 by 10.5 cm - a miniature for real.
Reptiles by M.C. Escher 1943 - A famous Lithograph of a Iguana
A drawing by M.C. Esher of a Iguana.
M.C. Escher became famous for his lithographs (stone prints) and drawings. His skills as a printer where exceptional. And close to Leonardo da Vinci, his work is printed all over the world. His complicated drawings with impossible perspective constructions are well known. Many book covers and cup,watches and t-shirts where a design of the Dutch artist.
M.C. Escher, made during his lifetime, 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and more then 2000 sketches and drawings. He was left handed like many great artists as Leonardo da Vinci, DÃ¼rer, Holbein and me too....(although I'm definitely not that famous...)
Besides from being a graphic artist, Escher designed tapestries, postage stamps, illustrated books, and made some murals.
The most typical thin in the artworks of M.c. Escher is how he played with architecture, perspective and impossible spaces. Often nature plays an important theme in his work as well. The beauty of his work is that it is not only technical skill, but he has a vision as well. His works makes you wonder about the world you are living in and is in some respect a big question mark.
A drawing of an Okapi by Sir Harry Johnston - The Okapi is a close relative of the giraffe.
Explorer and colonial administrator Sir Harry Johnston painted this picture of okapi for a 1901 edition of the Proceedings of the Zoological Society in London. When the species was first described that year, it was named Okapia johnstoni after Johnston.
source : American Museum of Natural History
Cheetah animal drawing - Renaissance drawing of the Cheetah
A Beautiful Drawing of two Cheethas
Two Cheetahs. The drawing is made around 1400-1410 in Lombardy, Italy. The artist is unfortunately unknown. This drawing was found in a book with a collection of other animal drawings. They where used as models for paintings
Frogs - by Jacob de Gheyn II - a study for four frogs - watercolor
The composition and proportions of a horse. - How to draw a horse, take a look at the drawing of Andrea del Verrocchio
Famous Horse Drawing by Andrea del Verrocchio
I already showed you above a drawing of Leonardo da Vindi, he made some wonderful drawings in his time. Horses though where drawn in many different ways and if you think about modern art and horses, you immediately have to think about Franz Marc and his connection with the Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).
The drawing above though is from Andrea del Verrocchio who was an Italian sculptor, goldsmith and painter working for the court of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence in the early renaissance. As you can see he really had an renaissance approach, like Leonardo he wanted to understand nature on a more scientific level. Measuring the proportions of a horse. Almost as Leonardo da Vinci measured the proportions of the vitruvian men (the men drawn in a circle and a square.) -It's no surprise though that the two have some ideas in common because del Verrocchio was Leonardo's teacher.
I like the drawing, it's almost abstract. The artist did not make the drawing because he wanted to draw a beautiful drawing, no it is more like a scientific study. What makes a horse a horse, how is it constructed. How do all the body parts relate to each other. It's a special drawing, very modern in it's look and feel.
The drawing can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Tell me, what's your favorite animal, maybe an artist has made a drawing of it, if so maybe I'll put it on the Lens.