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Exhibitions | Past

In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music at the Morgan
March 2 through May 20, 2012

John James Audubon (1785–1851)
Gray Rabbit: Old male, female, and young, 1841
Watercolor and graphite, with gouache
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York
Photography: Graham S. Haber, 2011

See online exhibition »

Omnis mundi creatura
Quasi liber et pictura
Nobis est et speculum.

Every creature of the world
Is like a book and a picture
To us and a mirror.

-Alan of Lille (Twelfth Century)

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote that "animals are good to think with." This exhibition examines the ways in which the artists, writers, and composers represented in the Morgan's collection used animals to think and create. What does the portrayal of animals in images, words, and music reveal about companionship, meaning, and morality? About science, beauty, and truth?

Ancient seals, drawings, prints, books, music, and medieval and literary manuscripts illustrate the role of animals as symbols, teachers of moral lessons, aesthetic and scientific muses, talking creatures, and companions. Included in the exhibition are works by John James Audubon, William Blake, Eugène Delacroix, Albrecht Dürer, T. S. Eliot, Ted Hughes, George Orwell, Jackson Pollock, Sergei Prokofiev, Rembrandt, E. B. White, and Virginia Woolf, among many others..

In the Company of Animals is organized by Clara Drummond, Assistant Curator at The Morgan Library & Museum.

This exhibition is supported by a generous gift from Tina Santi Flaherty, in honor of her faithful companions Jackie, a white Labrador retriever, and Scarlett, a King Charles spaniel.

Additional assistance is provided by the Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications, and by Jeannette and Jonathan P. Rosen.

In the News:
The Beasts Without and Within The New York Times

Related Programs:

Thursday, March 8, 6:30 p.m.

Gallery Talk
In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music at the Morgan
Friday, March 9, 7 p.m.

My Dog Tulip and Animal Beatbox
Friday, April 13, 7 p.m.

Family Programs
My Book is a Beast
Saturday, April 21, 2–4 p.m.

The Morgan's Spring Family Fair
Sunday, May 6, 2–5 p.m.

« See all past exhibitions

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.