Die innere Wildnis : das Mensch-Tier-Mischwesen in der bildenden Kunst in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts

Steffens, Anna-Maria; Markschies, Alexander (Thesis advisor); Schneider, Ulrich Jürgen (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2018)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2018

Abstract

The second half of the 19th century was flooded with depictions of hybrids of man and animal. This thesis explores the social mechanisms which underlie this cultural development and how they are reflected in the visual arts. In this period animals were objects of desire and fear at the same time. Urbanisation led to a craving for nature, the double standards of society urged the people to nativeness and living out their genuine instincts. Travelogues reported about foreign countries and exotic animals and created a new concept of presenting natural history. For this reason zoological writings and menageries gained enormous popularity. New discoveries in the fields of psychology and evolution evoked curiosity but also a skeptical and fearful attitude towards everything which confronted the people with their own “animal being”. Visual arts reacted to these developments with a flood of animal wise symbolism. The human-animal-variation is subject of this thesis which contains a remarkable and relevant corpus of images from newspaper caricatures and paintings.

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