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Animals in Art

Pet Portraits: Do you have a pet or a favorite animal? Spend a little time observing the animal. What features do you see? What kind of “personality” does it have? Does it have distinctive abilities? Create a portrait of the animal emphasizing what makes it so special.  

Watch and Learn: Check out the different animal cams from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. You can watch live video of Asian elephants, gorillas, pandas, and many more of your favorite animals! Keep a journal of your observations—what the animals are doing, how they interact with one another, and what they like to eat. For more information, see the Smithsonian’s animal fact sheets.  

Stories of Ganesha: There are hundreds of stories about the loveable Hindu god, Ganesha. Read stories in the children’s collection, The Broken Tusk: Stories of the Hindu God Ganesha, by Uma Krishnaswami (North Haven, CT: Linnet Books, 1996). Choose a character from one of these tales and make an outline of the character’s actions, motives, emotions, traits, and feelings.  

Piece It Together: Picasso made Baboon and Young from a variety of everyday objects. Look around your house. What could you use to form a giraffe’s neck? An elephant’s trunk? A lion’s mane? Make a sculpture of an animal with found objects.  

More Animals in Art: Check out many more MIA objects that feature animals, using the online resource ArtsConnectEd. After viewing the collection, sort the images by animal type, habitat, or in alphabetical order. Click here to view the collection. Click here to learn more about the Art Collector feature.  

See the Real Thing: There are hundreds of animal art objects at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Visit the museum to see how many you can find.  

April 2008