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Animal Prints

Similar to the encyclopedic documentation of botanical prints, scientists used printmaking techniques to create multi-volume collections of natural history illustrations. The best example of animal prints is the Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner’s 4,500 page Historiae animalium. Printed in the mid 16th century, it aimed to closely document the details of every living thing known to man, even fictional animals, through woodcuts.

In the late 1500s, Albrect Dürer created strikingly detailed images of animals, less for science than for the enjoyment of collectors interested in science, exploration, and travel. Despite the number of well-respected artists that created prints with animal subject matter, animal illustrations were seen as a method of practicing different techniques and indicating technical mastery than fine art, and as such fell out of favor until the 1700s.


Quick Facts

  • 18th century British artist and engraver George Stubbs was responsible for reviving interest in animal illustrations by creating engravings of his paintings of horses for a wider audience
  • 16th and 17th century prints of animals were often created without the artist ever seeing the animal in person. Thus prints from this time period may appear exaggerated and distorted today
  • In the 19th century, John James Audubon created one of the largest bodies of zoological works called "Birds of America." Audubon worked with a professional printmaker to create engravings and lithographs from his drawings and paintings, often making the prints large enough to represent the animal in life-size

Recommended Items at Auction

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ESCHER, M.C. (1898-1972). Uitnodiging, september 1931. (1931). Woodcut 12 x 9 cm
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
ESCHER, M.C. (1898-1972). Uitnodiging, september 1931. (1931). Woodcut 12 x 9 cm
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €90- €120
€1,70015 Bids
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CIRC 1953 M.C. ESCHER ELEMENTS SUITE "AIR" WOODCUT ON PAPER
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
CIRC 1953 M.C. ESCHER ELEMENTS SUITE "AIR" WOODCUT ON PAPER
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$38013 Bids
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ALEJANDRO AROSTEGUI "EL LAGO" MIXED MEDIA ON BOARD
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ALEJANDRO AROSTEGUI "EL LAGO" MIXED MEDIA ON BOARD
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$58013 Bids
Vaughan Murray Griffin,(1903-1992) Magpies
Nov 14, 2:30 PM AEDT
Vaughan Murray Griffin,(1903-1992) Magpies
by Artvisory
Est: AUD800- AUD1,200
AUD1,60011 Bids
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SALVADOR DALI "THE RAM" E.A. SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
SALVADOR DALI "THE RAM" E.A. SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$38011 Bids
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ROBERT WYLAND "ORCA A-5 POD" A.P. OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ROBERT WYLAND "ORCA A-5 POD" A.P. OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$6510 Bids
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SALVADOR DALI "FLORALS STOCK RHINOS" SIGNED ETCHING & LITHOGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
SALVADOR DALI "FLORALS STOCK RHINOS" SIGNED ETCHING & LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1809 Bids
Manetti - Parrot. 121
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Manetti - Parrot. 121
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $500- $1,500
$2209 Bids
Group of 10 1966 Marvel Super Heroes Trading Cards
Nov 07, 10:00 AM CDT
Group of 10 1966 Marvel Super Heroes Trading Cards
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $500
$856 Bids
CREMER JAN
Oct 30, 2:00 PM CEST
CREMER JAN
by Campo & Campo
Est: €30- €100
€706 Bids
4 Superhero Action Hasbro Marvel Figures in OBs
Nov 06, 12:30 PM EDT
4 Superhero Action Hasbro Marvel Figures in OBs
by Smith Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$225 Bids
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LEONARD BASKIN "FLEA" SIGNED LINOCUT
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LEONARD BASKIN "FLEA" SIGNED LINOCUT
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
(3pc) Dog Prints Feat. Nedobeck Signed
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
(3pc) Dog Prints Feat. Nedobeck Signed
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
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ROBERT WYLAND "ORCA A-5 POD" A.P. OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ROBERT WYLAND "ORCA A-5 POD" A.P. OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
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CHARLES BRAGG "WHALES SONG" A.P. SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
CHARLES BRAGG "WHALES SONG" A.P. SIGNED LITHOGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$354 Bids
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JOSEP MARIA GARCIA LLORT BIRD SERIGRAPH
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
JOSEP MARIA GARCIA LLORT BIRD SERIGRAPH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$153 Bids
Manetti - Parrot. 126
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Manetti - Parrot. 126
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $500- $1,500
$1203 Bids
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LEONARD BASKIN "BABOON" WOOD SIGNED ENGRAVING
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
LEONARD BASKIN "BABOON" WOOD SIGNED ENGRAVING
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$253 Bids
Haeckel - Turtles; Chelonia. 89
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Haeckel - Turtles; Chelonia. 89
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $200- $400
$553 Bids
Audubon - Cedar bird, or Cedar Wax-wing. 246
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Audubon - Cedar bird, or Cedar Wax-wing. 246
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $200- $400
$403 Bids
Set of seven bird prints, 50 x 34cm
Oct 31, 7:00 PM AEDT
Set of seven bird prints, 50 x 34cm
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD303 Bids
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ALFREDO ZALCE UNTITLED (SWORDFISH) COLOR ETCHING
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
ALFREDO ZALCE UNTITLED (SWORDFISH) COLOR ETCHING
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$252 Bids
A. LASSELL RIPLEY (1896-1969, MA) FRAMED AND
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
A. LASSELL RIPLEY (1896-1969, MA) FRAMED AND
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$2252 Bids
Catherwood - General View of Palenque. 6
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Catherwood - General View of Palenque. 6
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $1,500- $3,500
$5752 Bids

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