The focus of this encyclopedia is on animals and their symbolism in diverse world cultures and in different eras of human history. Most entries on particular animals begin with brief zoological information, which includes the animal's scientific name and classification as well as its range, habitat, and behavior. Main, general entries on cultural, chronological and geographical areas include cross-references to specific cultures discussed in greater detail. Other broader entries address the significance of animals in their own environements, such as the architecture of animals, tools used by animals, and still others deal with animals in the human sphere such as pet animals and zoo animals. The ways that people think about animals and what people do to and with animals as a result are discussed in more theoretical entries, such as anomalous animal and complimentary duality. Some entries deal with the ways in which animals are depicted (composition, X-ray images).
"Answers to how various mythological, Biblical, and literary themes have been treated in literature, art, music, and the performing arts can be found in this work. It provides an analysis of over 100 selected themes that reflect the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of scholarly and academic work through the use of various iconographical sources. The alphabetical arrangement facilitates browsing, while the six indexes provide multiple access by considering, among others, references to the Bible; Judeo-Christian personages, places and concepts; and artists and works of art"
Throughout the Middle Ages, sacred Christian art had two objectives: to express veneration for God and to provide illustrative lessons on the Christian faith to a largely illiterate population. Continuing in the spirit of the other books in this series, Old Testament Figures in Art compiles entries on key figures and events in the Old Testament, beginning with the Pentateuch, then drawing from the historical books, the books of wisdom and poetry, and, finally, the prophetic books. The vivid illustrations depict Old Testament scenes that occur most frequently as iconographic prototypes in Western art. Among the masterpieces featured are The Entry of the Animals into Noah's Ark by Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Sacrifice of Isaac by Rembrandt, Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Paul Gauguin, and Isaac Receiving Rebekah as His Wife by Marc Chagall. The accompanying texts illuminate the unique ways in which Old Testament subjects have been portrayed in Western art throughout the ages. To complement the many scriptural references, this handy volume also offers comparisons with other cultures whose stories or myths parallel those represented in the book.
From antiquity, when the gods and goddesses were commonly featured in works of art, through to the twentieth century, when Surrealists drew on archetypes from the unconscious, artists have embedded symbols in their works. As with previous volumes in the Guide to Imagery series, the goal of this book is to provide contemporary readers and museum visitors with the tools to read the hidden meanings in works of art. This latest volume is divided thematically into four sections featuring symbols related to time, man, space (earth and sky), and allegories or moral lessons. Readers will learn, for instance, that night, the primordial mother of the cosmos, was often portrayed in ancient art as a woman wrapped in a black veil, whereas day or noon was often represented in Renaissance art as a strong, virile man evoking the full manifestation of the sun's energy. Each entry in the book contains a main reference image in which details of the symbol or allegory being analyzed are called out for discussion. In the margin, for quick access by the reader, is a summary of the essential characteristics of the symbol in question, the derivation of its name, and the religious tradition from which it springs.