Research Point - Leonardo and Dürer's animals

Albrecht Dürer was one of the first artists of his time to view animals as an art subject, 200 years before George Stubbs made it fashionable. He made many sketches for woodcuts and watercolour paintings, some of animals he'd never seen in real life (his Rhinoceros was based on notes and a brief sketch by an unknown artist).

He captured the animals in quick fast flowing sketches, before using those as a basis for more detailed work.


Leonard DaVinci had a strong love of animals. He was a vegetarian (strange for that time) and wouldn't dissect them for study, whereas he happily dissected human bodies! He was fasinated by the way animals moved, and reportedly bought birds in order to set them free and observe their movements in closer detail.

You can see by these images, that he clearly knew his subject, capturing the postures of cats perfectly.


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