Artists' Use of Animals to Convey a Message

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 825 |

Pages: 4|

5 min read

Published: Mar 3, 2020

Words: 825|Pages: 4|5 min read

Published: Mar 3, 2020

Art is an integral part of culture and history. Many artists are renowned for their artworks, yet artworks are not renowned for how they look. Instead, artworks are renowned for their meaning and expression. Yes, the aesthetic value of an artwork is important, however, the artwork is often remembered not because of how good it looks, but rather how deep the artwork’s meaning is. An artwork that has meaning is distinguished from other artworks. Animals are often used in art as a cultural reference to love and respect. Animals in the art are very important to many different cultures around the world, including our very own aboriginal people. Artists use animals to convey a message that might portray a deep cultural meaning or a deep subjective meaning. Artist’s use animals to commemorate an event with some deep historical meaning. An example of this is Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Artists also might want to convey a message that animals are being mistreated and humans are severely damaging the environment. An example would be the Plastic Bag Polar Bear by Joshua Allen Harris. The two artworks reinforce the statement that artists use animals to convey a message.

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The first way that artists use animals to convey a message is through commemorating a historical event; this is done through the artwork: Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Napoleon Crossing the Alps was made by Jacques-Louis David in 1800. The medium used is oil on canvas. To interpret the meaning of this artwork the cultural frame will be used. In 1799 Napoleon led his troops across the Alps to fight the revolutionary government and came back victorious. A year after this event the Spanish King ordered the portrait of Napoleon to be made. Napoleon became the strongest man in France, years after he would become emperor. The portrait was made by Jacques-Louis David. Napoleon did not sit for the portrait instead one of David’s sons sat for it, this explains why in the portrait Napoleon looks so young. Napoleon did not focus that much time on the portrait. However, he came up with the idea of the horse intending to send a message. This message was that there was a calm man behind a crazy horse. Illustrating the fact that Napoleon is a good leader. He tamed the troops and his allies just like the horse, all while being calm and in control. The idea is that Napoleon is in control of the horse just like his troops in the background. The mountains and landscape do not stand as their subject, rather, a compliment on the main focus. We can conclude that artists use animals to convey messages such as a commemoration of an important historical event. The artwork Napoleon Crossing the Alps reinforces and justifies this fact.

Moreover, artists use animals to convey messages that portray the dangers inflicted by humans upon animals e.g. Plastic Bag Polar Bear. The Plastic Bag Polar Bear was made in 2008 by the American contemporary US artist Joshua Allen Harris. The medium is plastic. The subjective frame is the frame that will be used for interpretation. The polar bear is attached to the subway lines in New York. As soon as the trains pass the gust of winds blow up the plastic bag. When the wind stops, the polar bear deflates. When I see the artwork I ultimately think that when the bear inflates the bear comes back to life and when he deflated, he dies. I also think that it reminds us about Global Warming and how polar bears are dying due to the ice melting and habitat loss. I believe that just as how the polar bear inflates with the help of humans and deflates without the help of humans, we are the cause of this species problems’ and also we can save this wonderful animal. The artist expresses how we need to help the polar bears. I feel saddened by this artwork. This artwork reminds me of the struggle of polar bears due to Global warming and how we as humans are the cause of it. I believe the artist also wants his audience to respond in the same manner as me, saddened and depressed by what we, as a human race have done to the Polar Bears. As the artist of this artwork expresses a message through animals, artist’s use animals to convey a message.

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In conclusion, the artist’s use of animals to convey a message that varies in terms of the artist’s interests. Artworks have many different meanings and themes. Animals are used by artists to convey a message. Some messages might include a commemoration of a major historical event as demonstrated by the artwork Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Another message might be the dangers inflicted upon animals as portrayed by the artwork Plastic Bag Polar Bear. Finally, artists use animals to convey a message. The artworks mentioned confirmed this. This so-called ‘message’ can be anything that the artist wishes to convey.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Animals In Human Society. (2023, January 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Animals In Human Society.” GradesFixer, 14 Jan. 2023,
Animals In Human Society. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Animals In Human Society [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jan 14 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
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