The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Kingdom Animalia

Luis Jiménez  Chula, 1987

A Bestiary from the UAMA Permanent Collection

April 2, 2009 – August 2, 2009

The bestiaries of medieval Europe were guidebooks to the animal kingdom. Compounded equally of fact, rumor, and faith, bestiaries contained depictions of animals ranging from the familiar to the fantastical. Accompanying each illustration was a description of the beast or bird, as well as a didactic text identifying the human virtue or vice the particular animal exemplified. More than pretty picture books, to be flipped through and forgotten, bestiaries were serious works of moral instruction and meditation.

Kingdom Animalia is a different kind of bestiary. Rather than relate human lessons in animal form, the works exhibited here consider the ever-changing relationship between mankind and animals across historical periods and cultures. Like the illustrations found in medieval bestiaries, the works in Kingdom Animalia reveal as much about their creators as they do about the creatures they depict: animals are metaphors for and mirrors of humanity.

Emily Handlin, Graduate Curatorial Intern

UA Masters Program in Art History, Class of 2009


Gallery Talk

Wednesday, April 29 at 4:00 pm: Gallery Talk by UA Masters candidate Emily Handlin, Graduate Curatorial Intern.

Download the announcement flyer in Adobe Acrobat format