Animal Paintings

May, 13th - September, 13th


Gemäldegalerie Dachau
Konrad Adenauer Straße 3, Dachau


The animal was an important motif for painters and sculptors at all times. The oldest surviving images of human hands, among others in the cave of Lascaux (17,000–15,000 BC) are representations of animals. They originated in the belief that one could gain power over the prey by depicting the animals. In the course of human history, wild animals have been domesticated by taming and have become important domestic and farm animals.
The animal has always played an important role in European art. There were mythical animals, such as B. the unicorn or the dragon, who fulfilled their special role in religion, fable or fairy tale. Even in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, individual animals were occupied with symbolic attributes of faith.
It was only in the 17th century that the Dutch painters began to deal with the more natural reproduction of animals and specialized in the representation of individual animal species. With the advent of open-air painting, the view of the animal changed in the 19th century. Like the landscape, animals should be reproduced as realistically as possible in their natural environment. At the art academies you could now study the subject of animal painting; there were also many private animal painting schools, such as that of Hans von Hayek in Dachau. Animal motifs were particularly popular in the artist colonies of the late 19th century. Cows, sheep, goats, swans, geese, ducks and chickens make a significant contribution to emphasizing the naturalness of the landscape and making it lively.

Site Plan Dachau