Animals have appeared in art work since the beginning of time. Whether the animals depicted a hunt that the people went on, represented Gods, or were a symbolic representation of life and death, they are one of the most popular subjects of art. Of the most popular animals to appear in animal paintings from the beginning of time to now, most will agree the horse is painted the most.
If you think back to some of the earliest forms of art work like the cave paintings found at Lascaux, you will see horse paintings. The Lascaux cave paintings are from the Paleolithic time period and are roughly 17,000 years old and yet they depict the horse. Historians believe these paintings represent a hunt, however as man continued to evolve so did the nature of horse paintings. Eventually horse art work would go on to represent the bond between man and horse. The horse also became a sign of nobility and a necessity to everyday life. Horses would be a crucial part of all civilizations in wartime, for means of transportation and for farming work. Nobles would have well trained mounts that could perform unique maneuvers to either protect its rider or help act as a soldier by injuring the opposing soldiers. In medieval art work, nobles are often showing riding white horses and this is because white horses were a sign of high social standing. For those in higher social classes their horses were more refined and athletic. While the commoner would have a workhorse who was stockier, slower, and less agile, as they had to be strong enough to plow fields and carry goods on carts. Horse paintings were both used to represent real life and also a fictional life by artists. In the fictional sense, the horse represented power, freedom, and beauty. This is one of the reasons people of wealth often commissioned paintings of their favorite horses to then decorate their homes with throughout history. Even in today’s modern art, horses are painted though as less of a life necessity, but for sentimental value to the owner.
Other popular animals to appear in paintings are birds. Birds started to make their popular appearance in the Renaissance era. Birds were painted to symbolize different feelings or events. Many times painters of this era painted birds with a hidden meaning behind them so they would not get into trouble and viewers simply thought they were looking at beautiful painting. However different birds had different meanings. A peacock represented positive things like resurrection or the Christian faith of the time. On the other hand, paintings of vultures symbolized greed and ruthlessness. Owls would be painted to show wisdom and clarity. Birds would also be used to represent freedom, as they could simply fly away and this was admired by many people.
Animal paintings are still admired by most people today and for some of the same reasons. Horse paintings still represent the sense of freedom and bird paintings are often attached to a sense of wisdom and freedom. Whether you are looking to hang animal wall art to represent a deeper meaning or you are just an animal lover, we have a large selection of animal wall art. You can find birds, dogs, horses, sea life, and more!