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

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Pieter Mulier, (1637–1701)
Two Recumbent Goats and a Third Standing, seventeenth century
Red chalk
7 1/2 x 9 inches (191 x 229 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; III, 219a

Studies Of Farm Animals
The twentieth-century American artist Alexander Calder wrote, "the study of any domestic animal helps in drawing the rarer and wilder ones" Mulier, a Dutch artist who spent much of his life in Italy, has mastered the shaggy coat and penetrating stare of the goat.


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Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849)
Letter signed Poe: New York, to John Augustus Shea, 3 February 1845.
27.1 cm
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; MA 621

Revising "The Raven"
This letter contains Poe's last-minute revisions to the tenth and eleventh stanzas of "The Raven." The poem was to be published the next day in The New-York Daily Tribune. These revisions are the earliest surviving portions of "The Raven" in Poe's hand. In his "Essay on Poetry," Poe wrote that he wanted a creature for this poem that was "capable of speech, and very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone." The raven, "the bird of ill-omen," represents "Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance," in this case, of a dead lover.


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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, (1606–1669)
Forequarters of an Elephant, ca. 1637
Counterproof in black chalk
7 5/8 x 7 7/16 inches (194 x 189 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; I, 205

Rembrandt's Elephant
Rembrandt made several elephant sketches. The subject is thought to be a female elephant named Hansken, who traveled from Ceylon to Amsterdam in 1637. The artist paid close attention to the texture of her skin and faithfully depicted her without tusks: female Asian elephants often have small or broken tusks. She stands serenely in this image but was trained to perform various tricks to entertain the crowds who paid to see her. One observer wrote, she "dances in circles, fences an opponent with a sword, kneels... puts on a hat and takes it off."


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Verscheyde soorten van gedierten
Haarlem: Margareta van Bancken..., 1690
36 x 29 cm
Purchased on the Ball Fund, 1985; PML 84761

Affordable Animals
Printed on cheap paper and, at a penny or two, meant to be affordable to the general public, this Dutch catchpenny print from the seventeenth century is in remarkable condition. Printed from twenty-four small woodblocks, the print's diverse animal subjects are meant to be instructive as well as amusing, a child's introduction to natural history. The most exalted exotic animals, the lion and elephant, appear first, followed by the cow and horse, two animals central to artistic depictions of Dutch rural life.

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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.