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Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art

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Author Topic: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art  (Read 1821 times)
Demon Queen
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Posts: 2122

« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2009, 01:04:51 pm »

Whatever liberty the artist may take in his interpretation of the form of bird, beast, or monster, there is, however, a limit to his licence beyond which he may not go. He may not alter the recognised symbolic attitude, nor change the tincture; he is scarcely at liberty to add a feature. He may curl the mane of his lion, fancifully develop its tongue

p. 23

and tail, and display its claws in a manner for which there is little or no authority in nature; but if he add wings, or endow it with a plurality of heads or tails, it instantly becomes another creature and a totally different symbol. * A wise reticence in treatment is more to be commended than such fanciful extravagance.

The early artists and heralds, in their strivings to exaggerate in a conventional manner the characteristics of animals for their most effective display, appear to have reached the limits of which their art was capable, and important lessons may be gained from their works. With the extended knowledge of natural history, and the advanced state of art at the present day, decorative and symbolic heraldry should take a leading place in the twentieth century, as in the words of Ruskin, it has been "hitherto the most brilliant" and "most effective of the Arts."

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