In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music at the Morgan
March 2 through May 20, 2012
|Pieter Mulier, (1637–1701)|
Two Recumbent Goats and a Third Standing, seventeenth century
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
|Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849)|
Letter signed Poe: New York, to John Augustus Shea, 3 February 1845.
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this poem that was "capable of speech, and very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone."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.
|Verscheyde soorten van gedierten|
Haarlem: Margareta van Bancken..., 1690
36 x 29 cm
Purchased on the Ball Fund, 1985; PML 84761
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.
|Hugo von Trimberg, (ca. 1230–ca. 1313)|
Der Renner, in German
Austria, probably Tyrol, last quarter of the fifteenth century
293 x 207 mm
Purchased in 1930; MS M.763
The Lion and the Donkey
This lengthy poem, a collection of allegorical and moralizing tales drawn from the Bible, Aesop, bestiaries, and other sources, is titled Der Renner (The Runner), as Trimberg intended it to travel throughout Germany. In the image on the left, the lion has been elected king of the animals and has assembled them to report to him their names and ancestries. Attempting to hide his humble origins, the donkey is cagey about his lineage. The fox finally speaks up and reveals that the donkey owned by the baker is the donkey's father: "faithfulness and simplicity dwell in [his father], and he supports himself by honest toil and to no one does any harm." There is no shame in admitting one's humble origins.