Wildlife art

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Wildlife Painting by Carl Friedrich Deiker

Wildlife art is one of humanity's earliest art forms, dating back to prehistoric cave paintings such as those found at the grotto of Lascaux in France.

Wildlife art is the most widely recognized of human art forms as its depiction of the natural world, and the wildlife inhabiting it is a universal theme covering all cultures on all continents.

Modern wildlife art[edit]

Modern wildlife artists most often seek to enrich and inspire public appreciation of humanity's relationship with nature by focusing their art on the depiction of mammals, birds, sealife and insects. Most American artists try to depict their subjects in a photo realistic view but other artists have used many different mediums in the past. Artists also sculpt and draw their wild subjects.

Sometimes animal mounts are put into the category of wild art, but it there are clear distinct differences. Taxidermy is the work of handling dead animals (usually killed by hunters) and mounting or "stuffing" the animals bodies.


There are hundreds of internationally acclaimed painters and sculptors who have looked to the relationship between people and wildlife as a means of exploring humanity’s place in the world. Important forerunners of the modern style of wildlife sculpture include Rembrandt Bugatti and François Pompon. Modern wildlife art painters include John Clymer, Thierry Bisch, Kim Donaldson, Gary Hodges, Dave Merrick and Lanford Monroe.

Wildlife conservation[edit]

Dirk Claesen’s Artwork - Scheveningen, The Netherlands

Many wildlife artists or art groups hold benefits to support wildlife conservation. Sometimes artists choose to depict scenes that stir emotions, such as Robert Bateman's "Driftnet – Pacific White-sided Dolphin and Laysan Albatross", in which a small dolphin and bird drown due to fishing nets. Many artists will also participate in contests held by wildlife conservation organizations.

On July 10th, 2008, at Scheveningen beach in (The Netherlands), the local museum (Muzee Scheveningen) sponsored the installation of an 18-metre-long life-size sculpture of a sperm whale on the dunes, in imitation of a stranded whale. Belgian artist Dirk Claesen, also known as Zephyr, created the exhibit to provoke people to a more responsible attitude towards whales.

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