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4404 Views 2 Replies Last post: Feb 1, 2011 10:26 AM by NatureLover13 RSS
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Jan 24, 2011 10:51 AM

Animals that we now know look very different

I read that the dodo probably looked quite different from the image we’re used to seeing of it. Are there any other paintings of animals in the Museum’s collection that we now know were really inaccurate?
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    Jan 25, 2011 5:28 PM (in response to NatureLover13)
    Re: Animals that we now know look very different

    Curator Judith Magee has replied:


    There is another oil painting of the Dodo which is a copy of the Savery one.
    There are no other large oil paintings of inaccurate depictions of plants or animals. There are of course many books with images of animals and plants that the artist had not seen but drew them from either descriptions by others or from the imagination of the artist or again others. Some of these are fantastical and the animal has never existed others are attempts at drawing a living species such as camels and elephants but are poorly done.


    One of the first watercolour drawings of a kangaroo is almost unrecognisable and this animal was in fact seen by the artist. This could be an example of poor draughtsmanship but also a poor understanding of anatomy so that when confronted with a species that had not bee seen before and was quite different from anything else it was difficult to comprehend and therefore also difficult to draw.


    There are also examples of drawings of stuffed birds and animals that have been incorrectly or poorly preserved. If the artist has only these specimens as examples of the species there are bound to be inaccuracies. Added to this many drawings in the past were made purely from a dead specimen and this too could have influenced the artists in the reproduction of what they saw.

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