Anorak News | The Medieval Elephant in Art

The Medieval Elephant in Art

by | 4th, April 2020

The Medieval Elephant in Art

Drawing an elephant when you’ve never seen one is testing, as these images drawn by Medieval artist prove. Uli Westphal’s Elephas Anthropogenus project shows us European illustrations of elephants between the fall of Rome to the end of the Renaissance. Around that period sightings of elepahants in what is now modern day Wigan or Oslo were rare. He writes:

After the fall of the Roman Empire, elephants virtually disappeared from Western Europe. Since there was no real knowledge of how this animal actually looked, illustrators had to rely on oral and written transmissions to morphologically reconstruct the elephant, thus reinventing an actual existing creature. This tree diagram traces the evolution of the elephant depiction throughout the middle ages up to the age of enlightenment.

An album of Medieval elephants can be seen here.

Posted: 4th, April 2020 | In: Strange But True Comment | TrackBack | Permalink