Monthly Archives: June 2019

Animalia

June 17 – September 13, 2019
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library

Vessel in the form of a Dog, Colima culture, Mexico, ca. 200, polychrome earthenware, H. 7 1/4 x W. 5 3/4 x L. 12 1/2 in. (18.4 x 14.6 x 31.8 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, Samuel Kirkland Lothrop Collection, Gift of René A. Wormser (1968.8.22).

Now on view in Avery Library is a new summer exhibition called Animalia, which celebrates the essence of animal life as depicted in sculpture, decorative arts, and cultural heritage objects, all drawn from the Art Properties collection. The works on view date from antiquity to today and present animal forms in various media, including soapstone, wood, ceramic, and watercolor on paper.

For many world cultures, the representation of animals in art has had a spiritual significance, reminding viewers today of the perpetually strong ties humans and animals have always had for survival and companionship. The first two cases include works by indigenous populations from Canada, the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America, while the latter two cases showcase works of art from China and Japan. With the exception of two modern sculptures, each of the objects on view was made by an artisan whose identity remains unknown to us. That anonymity arguably forces our attention away from the maker and toward the subject represented, reminding us that humankind, and the animals around us, are all one, united as part of nature.