Menagerie in the Museum: Highlights from the Loeb

Marc Chagall, The Peaceable Kingdom as Foretold by Isaiah (Isaiah 11: 5-9) (from Chagall's Illustrations for the Bible, 1931-36), 1957, Etching, Gift of Mrs. Suzette Morton Davidson, class of 1934, 1959.1.2.a

According to the Old Testament of the Bible, God created the world and made all the creatures of the sea, the air and “everything that creeps upon the ground” (Genesis 1:20–25). Then he made Adam and gave him dominion over the animals and the task of naming them all (3:19–21). For thousands of years, people have raised or purchased them for food and farm work, trained them for hunting and battle, and used them for both serious research and entertainment. Yet animals often surpass us in their sharper perceptions and instincts and their superior agility, strength, and courage. When people and animals form affectionate bonds, they become equals.  

Throughout history, painters, sculptors, and printmakers have depicted animals for their beauty and associations with humankind. Their intriguing “otherness” supplies artists with imagery for the expression of abstract universal concepts from savagery and greed to fidelity and freedom.

Assembled for Art 218: The Museum in History, Theory, and Practice taught by Susan Donahue Kuretsky, this exhibition celebrates the range and quality of a college art collection, expanding ever since 1864 to provide support for class instruction and the pleasure of a wider public. This exhibition was shown in the Focus Gallery, spring 2017.