Art Monographs & Sequential Art: Books Infested with Tiny Animals... Bestiaries both Medieval & Modern, Natural History & Funny or Unfunny Animal Comics

Artists rendering animals from life, memory & dreams; documenting real, symbolic & completely absurd relationships between man & beast. The perspectives vary immensely. Natural History began with the fundamentalist Christian dogma of cloistered Medieval European monks, whose knowledge of the world was limited to a few shelves of crumbling parchment & a few purposely isolated square miles. Natural History essentially ended with Ernst Haeckel, one of the earliest & most prolific of evolutionary biologists, who traveled the world seeking out specimen, cultivating a network of fisherman trained in properly preserving & shipping back to him the strangest & rarest sea creatures to appear in their trawling nets, a practice biologists still use today; but his beautifully & precisely executed watercolor drawings, exactingly replicated as engravings & lithographs that accompanied his many monographs, would eventually become his most influential legacy. 'Art-forms in Nature' would fuse Natural History & Art Nouveau, with eclectic compositions that grouped often unrelated animals according to isomorphic affinities, examples of patterns in evolutionary development repeated in species separated by millions of years & thousands of miles.

Then there's the Paleo-art tradition, a part of Natural History that, ironically enough, wasn't rendered extinct by the advent of photography. And contemporary artists like Walton Ford, Tiffany Bozic & Martin Wittfooth have all re-purposed Natural History in unique & powerful ways,

Animals have always played a central part in the relatively short history of the comics medium, roles that can be profoundly allegorical or apparently arbitrary.
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