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Man and Animals in Art

How should we look at animals? – one of the eternal questions intriguing artists. Are they our friends and servants, to be depicted for their beauty, and for the credit they reflect on their owners? Or are they brute beasts, represented to remind us of the threat they may pose? Most important, are they really so different from us? From the animal-headed gods of the Egyptians to the sinister hybrids of BritArt, by way of Botticelli’s centaur, Rubens’ tiger hunts, Stubbs’ race-horses, Goya’s bullfights, Turner’s whales, Landseer’s dogs, Seurat’s circus, Picasso’s Minotaur and Hockney’s cat Percy, this talk looks at what artists, in portraying animals, have been trying to tell us about ourselves.

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