More a work of natural history than of standard art appreciation, MacClintock's modern bestiary nevertheless offers exemplary reproductions of 80 works of painting, sculpture and drawing by nearly 60 artists, from an anonymous cave painter to Henry Moore. Although artists such as Rembrandt and Degas are included, the majority are anonymous ancients, contemporary ethnics or so-called ``animal artists'' whose work glows with empathy for their subjects. A naturalist herself, the author describes with gentle reverence the characteristics and habits of okapis and aardwolves as well as giraffes and bears; her poignant tales of beloved pets and animals plucked from their native habitats for distant zoos draw the reader in and attest to the dignity of animals. If the art historical comments are less successful, the images themselves are always lively and persuasive. Finally, photographs of artists alongside their amused models express a delight in the natural world that goes beyond words. All ages. (Mar.)
Gr 3 Up-- The unifying quality of this collection of animal portraits is the skill of each artist in creating believable representations. Ranging in time from a 12,000 B. C. drawing of a horse to a 20th-century Jo Davidson bronze of a calf and, in geography, from an Inuit stone carving to an Australian lithograph, the book presents pictures of about 75 mammals in a variety of media. MacClintock's selections demonstrate the universal appeal of animals and the inventiveness of the world's artists in interpreting their special characteristics. Each picture is accompanied by text--more accurately an extended caption--that in some instances provides information on the creature's behavior and in others gives an anecdote about the artist. Thus, readers are offered a bit of natural history, some biography, and a smattering of social commentary while the pictures illuminate a place and time. The appended listing of who, what, when, and where sets the artwork in its historical context. The quality of the reproductions is topnotch, but some of the pictures are too small to reflect adequately the artistry of these artifacts. --Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Known for her exceptional natural history books, MacClintock here celebrates the world of mammals through animal art, including the work of Charles Russell, Rembrandt, and Charles Tunnicliffe, and of Ugo Mochi, who illustrated several of MacClintock's previous books. She's assembled more than 70 examples of paintings, sculpture, cut paper, and drawings that showcase animals in all their diversity and glory. The black-and-white photographs are sharp and clear, and the color reproductions are excellent; all are fully sourced at the back of the book. The works are arranged roughly by animal, with MacClintock taking care to include a variety of artistic styles as well as a broad sampling of creatures. Accompanying each picture is an informed yet unstudied commentary combining bits about the animal, the design and style of the work, and the artist. Demonstrating a nice balance between text and art, and beautifully presented, the book will be treasured by armchair naturalist and art student alike. An index of artists is appended.