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Hungry Like the Wolf: Animals As Muse

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

There’s no relationship quite like the one that humans have with animals. Without a common language, we often project our own thoughts and feelings onto our creature companions. Now, a new exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum looks at the ways that animals have inspired artists of all kinds – and includes some surprises about the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Claude Debussy, T.S. Eliot and more. The exhibition's curator, Clara Drummond, joins us to discuss the animal as muse.

The Morgan Library and Museum
Jacob Hoefnagel (1573–ca. 1632) Orpheus Charming the Animals, 1613
The Morgan Library and Museum
John James Audubon (1785–1851) Gray Rabbit: Old male, female, and young, 1841
The Morgan Library and Museum
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) La Boîte à Joujoux: Ballet pour Enfants
The Morgan Library and Museum
Jean de Brunhoff (1899–1937) Dummy with illustration for Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant
The Morgan Library and Museum
Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) Le livre de la jungle
The Morgan Library & Museum
William Blake (1757–1827) From Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, ca. 1795
The Morgan Library & Museum
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) Letter signed "Poe": [New York], to John Augustus Shea, February 3, 1845


Clara Drummond,

Comments [13]

James Nova from Harlem

The gentleman who wished for the representation of the platypus may satisfy his longing with the late Rolf Harris's down-under ditty "Tie Me Kangaroo Down", which also gives 'musical' due to other ignored beasties.

Mar. 14 2012 01:08 AM

Invertebrates are the most underrated animals in art. These group includes odd animals like GRASSHOPERS, squid, and even really weird things like corals (which look more like plants than most land animals).

Mar. 13 2012 10:29 PM

i agree with the caller, i'm in the sugar glider camp myself. the sugar glider's american equivilent is the flying squirrel. fred eaglesmith's(canadian singer-songwriter)band "the flying squirrels" used to sing about dogs alot. with songs like fred has written featuring canines along with a mandolinist like the late willie p. bennett, what more do you need?

Mar. 13 2012 07:26 PM
richard sloat

A caller asked for sympathy for the wolf in art. Laurie Anderson in her album "Big Science" uses howling wolves as the background music. A take paradise put up a parking lot scenario with the wolves as representing the purity of nature.

Mar. 13 2012 04:12 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

The Opossum and Orangutan are my nominees for under appreciated animals in art. The Possum is misunderstood and persecuted as "road kill". The Orangutan is endangered in it's native Borneo and Sumatra because of logging and the development of Palm Oil plantations.

Mar. 13 2012 02:58 PM
Andrea from Rockland

How about all the animals in Fantasia?
Hippos, alligators, horses....

Mar. 13 2012 02:30 PM
rob from bay ridge

my choice would be bacteria, but i guess that was already done by death metalers.

Mar. 13 2012 02:29 PM
carmen from 10014

A lot of them had been represented in Lewis Carrol "Alice in wonderland" and through the looking glass", one of them that always kept my attention was the dodo....where else is it??

Mar. 13 2012 02:27 PM

The Maori supposedly wait by the shore to hear their song

Mar. 13 2012 02:25 PM
Pete from Greenpoint

Krill gets my vote

Mar. 13 2012 02:24 PM
jack from Bronx

I vote for the mongoose as the most under rated animal

Mar. 13 2012 02:22 PM

Is there any music about guinea pigs, sugar gliders, other cute unusual pocket pets?

Mar. 13 2012 02:20 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

"Lucifer Sam" - Syd Barrett's song about a Siamese cat is an excellent example. "Padding around on the ground he'll be found when you're around." Syd was very in touch w/ nature and also penned "Wolfpack" and "Rats" as well.

Mar. 13 2012 01:58 PM

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