Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 2)

Statue of Pegasus on Milan Stazione Centrale Train Station

Continued from Part 1


Symbolic and Decorative Animals

The more I looked, the more I saw. Countless times I saw it in Christian religious art, where the four Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are typically depicted, respectively, as a divine man, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an eagle. Clustered on the roof of the Croatian National State Archives building in Zagreb I noticed a parliament of Croatian owls, symbols of wisdom. And in Florence I met Il Porcellino (“the Piglet”), Baroque master Pietro Tacca’s popular boar fountain, sculpted in 1634 and situated now in the city’s Mercato Nuovo. Visitors traditionally put a coin into the boar’s jaws for good luck and then rub its snout to ensure a return to Florence. As a result, the snout always has a polished sheen, while the rest of its body remains a patinated brownish-green. (Of course, I rubbed its snout like there was no tomorrow!) Continue reading “Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 2)”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 1)

Pigeon resting in cornice, Milan

Guest Blog by Frank Weaver


‘I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.’

— Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself, 32” (from Leaves of Grass)


As we enter this season of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men,” it is worthwhile to be reminded that in this deeply conflicted world, while there may be many things that divide people—borders, currency, language, religion, politics—there are many more things that unite us in harmony. One of those unifying principles is our common relationship with animals: not merely as food or pets or helpmates, but in the simple awe and affection they have always inspired in the human psyche. It is a sentiment that stretches not only across great geographical distances but across the vast chasm of time itself.

The Little Hunt
A well-preserved mosaic excavated at the 4th-century Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, Italy, showing hunters with their dogs capturing a variety of game. (Source)
Continue reading “Wonderful Life: A Celebration of Animals in European Art (Part 1)”

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Oscars for Animals

Cat on movie screen

The paparazzi have gone home, the red carpet has been rolled up, and the tuxes and gorgeous gowns have been stowed away till next year. Now that last Sunday’s Academy Awards extravaganza is over, we turn our attention to the films that really matter—the ones about the domesticated animals we share our lives with!

(Note: Countless wonderful films featuring animals have been made over the years. The following nominees and winners were selected in an entirely subjective manner involving no voting or independent tabulation whatsoever.)

Continue reading “Oscars for Animals”
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The Importance of Pet Rabies Tags

Medieval woodblock print - rabid dog
Woodcut from the Middle Ages depicting peasants fending off a rabid dog [source]
The primary responsibility of any pet owner is to make sure their animal stays happy; and the best way to do that is to keep it safe and healthy. For that reason, a pet ID tag for your dog or cat (attached to the collar, along with microchipping for added protection) ensures a speedy return home if it gets lost. In addition, a rabies tag indicates that your pet has been vaccinated against a frighteningly deadly—yet easily preventable—disease.
Continue reading “The Importance of Pet Rabies Tags”

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter

Cats in Art

Still Life with Cat
Still life with Cat
Alexandre-François Desportes (French, 1661–1743)

Why paint a cat? It is art already.
— Wieland Grant

From the time of the ancient Egyptians, through the classical period and the Middle Ages, and right up to the present day, the common house cat (Felis catus) has been a constant object of attraction, mystery, and fascination for humanity. And throughout history, artists and craftspeople have expressed that fascination in every form of art—in sculpture, mosaics, drawings, paintings, and more.

In honor of “National Respect Your Cat Day” (March 28), we present here a collage of nine of our favorite renderings of cats in art across time. Continue reading “Cats in Art”

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter

Literary Quotes About Cats

Cat on Books

Of one of his feline companions, H.P. Lovecraft—famed author of the fantastic and macabre—once wrote: “In its flawless grace and superior self-sufficiency I have seen a symbol of the perfect beauty and bland impersonality of the universe itself, objectively considered, and in its air of silent mystery there resides for me all the wonder and fascination of the unknown.”

What is it about cats that has so fascinated and mystified the world’s greatest writers throughout history? That is another mystery that may never be solved. Nevertheless, here we present some of our favorite feline quotes—some witty, some philosophical, but all insightful—from some very notable authors. Continue reading “Literary Quotes About Cats”

Share this:


Share this page via Email


Share this page via Stumble Upon


Share this page via Digg this


Share this page via Facebook


Share this page via Twitter