Throughout history, artists have often included various animal species in their works, making this subject matter one of the most frequently used. Throughout history, many different societies have believed that some animals are incarnations of deities, sources of power, or otherworldly phenomena.
Animals have the potential to represent something more profound. For instance, the dove has come to symbolize tranquility and childhood purity over history and in various cultures.
Artists painted hunting images in the 17th century and featured dramatic, life-or-death encounters between humans and animals. The painters of the 18th century were interested in portraying animals in their natural settings because they thought this best showed the creatures' genuine beauty and power. In England, there were specialized painters from the 18th century who made portraits of racehorses and prize examples of livestock. In France, animal themes remained to be beautiful capriccios that were frequently placed around garden statues. The pets and farm animals shown in the paintings that Victorian artists made showed tremendous emotion, as did the animals in those paintings.
The most renowned and prolific animal artists include George Stubbs (British, 1724 -1806), Franz Marc (German, 1880 -1916), Thomas Sidney Cooper (British, 1803 -1902), Henriette Ronner-Knip (Dutch, 1821 -1909), John Frederick Herring, Sr (British, 1795 -1865), Richard Ansdell (British, 1815 -1885), Sir Edwin Landseer (British, 1802 -1873), Eugene Verboeckhoven (Belgian, 1798 -1881), Bruno Liljefors (Swedish, 1860 -1939), Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822 -1899), among others.