12 Beautiful 19th Century Watercolors of Wildlife

Quagga plains zebra
The Quagga (1882).

The Bestiarium of Aloys Zötl (1831-1887)

These beautiful watercolors come from the Austrian painter Aloys Zötl’s Bestiarium, a series of exquisite paintings of various animals undertaken from 1831 through until his death in 1887. He was relatively unknown until, decades after his death, his work was “re-discovered” by surrealist André Breton who was taken by the surrealist aesthetic he saw present in the images – as he writes: “Lacking any biographical details about the artist, one can only indulge one’s fantasies in imagining the reasons which might have induced this workman from Upper Austria, a dyer by profession, to undertake so zealously between 1832 and 1887 the elaboration of the most sumptuous bestiary ever seen.” (Wikipedia.)

1. Striped Hyena

Striped Hyena
The Striped Hyena (1831)

2. Lioness

Lioness Water Color
The Lioness (1832)

3. Cheetah

Cheetah Water Color
The Cheetah (1886)

4. Hoolock Gibbon Monkeys

Hoolock Gibbon Monkey
The Hoolock Gibbon (1835)

5. Siamang Gibbon Monkeys

Siamang Gibbon Monkeys
The Siamang Gibbon (1883)

6. Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor Water Color
The Boa Constrictor (1867)

7. Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Water Color
The Sea Turtle (1867)

8. Walrus

Walrus Water Color
The Walrus (1879)

9. Elk

Elk Water Color
The Elk (1886)

10. Quagga Zebra

Quagga plains zebra
The Quagga (1882)

11. Elephant

Elephant Water Color
The African Elephant (1886)

12. Camel

Camel Water Color
The Camel (1846)

This article was previously published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. You can view the original article here.

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Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas.


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