Rare animal art to be shown in Adelaide

By Tom Fedorowytsch

Posted

October 20, 2016 16:35:45

Rarely-seen animal illustrations from the extensive archives of the British Museum are going on show at the South Australian Museum.The Curious Beasts exhibition includes artworks that range from the beautiful to the bizarre and span more than four centuries.To add to the display, the SA Museum has dug out dozens of specimens from its own broad animals collection.”We’ve brought things out — some of them have never been seen on public display before,” Museum director Brian Oldman said.”We have very rich collections, we have very diverse audiences, so what we want to do is to put on a really exciting program … so there are different things for different tastes.”Artists approximate realitySome of the works are up to 600 years old and by artists including Albrecht Durer, Francisco Goya, George Stubbs and the Dutch master Rembrandt.Esther Chadwick from the British Museum said Durer produced a rhinoceros artwork in the 16th century, despite never actually having seen the species.”He approximates what he thinks the rhino should look like — it’s not quite right, and that then becomes the sort of authorial image and it gets repeated and repeated and repeated and it’s almost like it becomes a fact itself,” she said.Ms Chadwick said there were curious differences between the hand-drawn animals and others displayed after taxidermists had done their work.”Where print makers and observers get it a little bit wrong, we find that so compelling just to be able to see that little gap where the mismatch happens,” she said.The exhibition has visited five locations around the world, and after the Adelaide event the art will be returned to the British Museum’s vaults for safekeeping.Curious Beasts will run until next February.
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(ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) Photo:
An artwork of a rhinoceros at the Curious Beasts exhibition.
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Adelaide 5000
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The sea dragon had more than 300 teeth. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
(ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) Photo:
Birds on display as part of the Curious Beasts exhibition at the SA Museum.

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These snakes are more of the Curious Beasts on display. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
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The Hog is a Rembrandt work from 1643. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
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Get up close with a kiwi at the Curious Beasts exhibition. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
Curious Beasts go on display at Adelaide exhibition
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A jewel beetle on display at the Curious Beasts exhibition in Adelaide. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)
(ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) Photo:
These Curious Beasts from the Adelaide exhibition are eclectus parrots.

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These koalas are part of the Curious Beasts exhibition. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch)