Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Anthropomorphism is the attribution of uniquely human characteristics to non-human creatures and beings, natural and supernatural phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts. Subjects for anthropomorphism commonly include animals and plants depicted as creatures with human motivation able to reason and converse, forces of nature such as winds or the sun, components in games, unseen or unknown sources of chance, etc. Almost anything can be subject to anthropomorphism. The term derives from a combination of the Greek ἄνθρωπος (ánthrōpos), "human" and μορφή (morphē), "shape" or "form".

The ancient Egyptian god Thoth appears with the head of an ibis, though sometimes, he has the head of a baboon. Thoth invented writing and is the god of scribes.

Killer rabbits, dancing cats and demons. Via BibliOdyssey here are some gorgeous examples from illustrations for children's literature. Also, some not-so-fit for children:

[images via BibliOdyssey]
In 1794, Wolfgang von Goethe adapted a medieval version of Reynard the Fox to produce an epic poem in hexameter 'Reinecke Fuchs' perhaps influenced by the events of the French Revolution. German artist Wilhelm von Kaulbach produced an elaborate set of steel engravings in the 1840s which were first published in the 1846 edition of 'Reinecke Fuchs'. The images above are from the 1857 edition.

That Reynard and his acquaintances got up to some mischief.

'La Lutte Artistique' (The Artistic Struggle)
Jules Worms, 19th century [via BibliOdyssey]

Though a trend in art as old as art, it seems to me to have been more prevalent in recent years in the collective unconscious. Why is that?

By Olaf Hajek. You should take the time to check out his extensive portfolio.
[via bohemian hellhole]

Check out the mysterious work of London-based photographer Julia Fullerton-Batten.

Winter Stories is the name of a recent exhibit by photographer Paolo Ventura, shown in Paris. His work blurs reality and fiction. I am particularly taken with this one:

[via Le Divan Fumoir Bohémien]

A local Torontonian, Michael Wandelmaier has some fabulous illustrations on favorite themes of animals and imaginary things (uh... and hair). Furry and feathered friends are more common than fish, but check out his work:

Something Fishy! 20×12.5″. Graphite on Bristol with digital coloring. 2008

I can not resist sneaking in this illustration by Victoria, B.C. artist Marc Johns:

By the lovely Princesse Camcam

There's always the haunting, beautiful and delicately-coloured work of Minneapolis artist Jennifer Davis.

mixed media

trouble in mind

Riikan Sormunen is a weird Finnish girl (perhaps that is a redundant observation) whose art portrays strange ideas about animals. So, is posting. She has a deviantART page too.

What, you say that penguin isn't doing anything that penguins can't do? Please. I am not that naive.

The anthropomorphic food seems less common than the anthropomorphic animals, but such images are not entirely absent. Check out the magical illustrations of displaced prairie girl Chelsea Cardinal. She has an incredible sense of colour, like a children's illustrator not afraid of nightmares.

Apple Head


  1. The bid/man in the forest reminds me of Jan Svankmajer's rooster-head man in Conspirators of Pleasure.

  2. Sorry to be so slow to respond - I did not notice this comment - but thank you. I am not familiar with this and will have to look it up!

  3. Awesome Art....
    thought you might like my machinima film The Lammas Wickerman which features a dancing fox
    Bright Blessings

  4. Thank you! Everyone loves a dancing fox.

    Ele (aka minouette)



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