Erik Koch

Date of Award


First Advisor

Joan DelPlato

Second Advisor

Larry Wallach


My thesis is a textual, historical and visual analysis of animal figures in pictures. Three figures and sets of work are central to my analysis. The composite portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593) formed from natural objects, as well as his nature sketches and watercolors, begin my discussion of animal figures. I examine the work of a Flemish painter, Frans Snyders (1579-1657), whose market stall paintings are an evolution of the mode of natural depiction to which Arcimboldo contributed. These chapters attempt to explain the complex visual relationship between animals and man in pictorial form. Here I establish an implicit violence towards animal figures in scientific representation as a central theme of my analysis. This theme is expressed in the visual motif of a multitude of animal figures presented in a morbid ambiguous stasis. Themes of visual geography, eccentricity and imaginary elements existing within scientific representation also play a major role in my analysis. The subject of an animal-human pictorial relationship is carried to my third and final chapter, where I examine a twentieth-century scientific text Freshwater Fishes of the U.S.S.R. and Adjacent Countries by Lev Semyonevich Berg, which I include in order to further develop my discussion of the scientific treatment of animals in visual works. The goal of this thesis at its core is to examine the complex and manifold dimensions of the relationship between animals and man expressed in visual representation.

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