Rabbits are perhaps the most adorable animals in the world. Their cute and cuddly appearance endears them to even the most stoic individuals. Apart from physical appearance, rabbits also have a quiet demeanor, making them suitable pets for individuals who prefer quiet companionship. Overall, they appeal to our humanity in a way that reminds us of adorable, well-behaved children.
From Alice in Wonderland to Looney Tunes, rabbits are a staple in popular culture and kids’ entertainment.
Even corporations aim to attract consumers to utilize the appeal of rabbits in commercials and logo designs. Apart from their attractive traits, rabbits are culturally significant in many parts of the world, often representing mythical beliefs and ideologies. For instance, rabbits have been associated with deities portraying fertility and even virility.
Artists are no exception when it comes to the powerful charm rabbits possess. As a result, rabbits have inspired great art for centuries, becoming popular motifs across various art genres. In this article, let’s look at some of the most famous rabbit paintings.
Young Hare I – Albrecht Durer
Durer was a German painter of the German Renaissance. His precious woodcut prints established his reputation all over Europe during the late 1400s. His popularity across the continent made him an influence on several artists and even masters like Raphael and Titian. However, it wasn’t until around 1515 that his influence weakened when a new engraving style emerged.
Young Hare is Durer’s 1502 masterpiece. The watercolor cute rabbit painting was created in his workshop and is regarded as a brilliant example of observational art due to its almost photographic accuracy. The subject has also been deliberately made to stand out as the only focal point of the painting, with no landscape and no humans.
The subject is rendered in great detail, from the fur to the tiny whiskers on its snout. Durer expertly maneuvered his way through the challenge of illustrating a multi-colored, multi-textured subject. Some have pointed out that the subject’s accuracy is almost scientific, as if it were taken out of a textbook illustrating the animal’s features.
Lapin Agile Cabaret in Paris, France – Andre Gill
The Lapin Agile is a well-known cabaret in Paris. The hub has existed since 1860, and since then, it has gone by different names. However, in 1875, it received a new designation when artist Andre Gill produced a rabbit painting as a signpost for the cabaret. Nevertheless, the name would continue as its permanent name.
Andre Gill was a French caricaturist of the late 19th century. His painting for the cabaret features a rabbit escaping from a saucepan. The rabbit spots a red bow tie and sash, white collars, and a black hat as it balances a beer bottle on its paw.
Because the rabbit (lapin in French) was painted by Andre Gill, residents began referring to the cabaret as Lapin à Gill (Gill’s rabbit). Over time and owing to repetitive pronunciation, the name evolved into Lapin Agile (agile/nimble rabbit). Unfortunately, Gill’s original canvas painting was stolen in 1893; today, a reproduction of the original remains at the cabaret.
Rabbits 1852 – John Frederick Herring SNR
Also known as John Frederick Herring I, Herring was an English artist famous for his animal paintings, particularly the equestrian kind. He worked as a coachman before becoming a full-time painter, and it is believed that this inspired his many horse paintings.
Herring also produced several cute rabbit paintings during his career. These paintings typically depicted rabbit families consisting of the mother doe and her young. This particular oil painting was created in 1852. It features a black and white doe with her young feeding on some leaves.
The doe is understandably painted larger than her three young kittens. She crouches beside her young and looks away from the artist at something out of frame. The light reflects on her face and gives her left eye a lively sparkle. The family is painted outdoors in a field of dried grass, suggesting that the green leaves they feed on were provided for them.
Feeding the Rabbits- Heinrich Hirt
Hirt was a late 19th-century German artist who enjoyed painting children and their juvenile amusements, particularly their interactions with household pets. Many of his masterpieces have been sold at auctions. In 2012, his work—The Little Seamstresses—sold for $30,000 at Sotheby’s New York.
Feeding the Rabbits depicts a little girl engrossed in the activity of providing four rabbits in what seems to be a barn. The girl carries some leaves in her apron, tied around her skirt. The painting captures the moment she is about to dump a handful of leaves on the little pile at her bare feet. She is painted with a smile, suggesting that feeding the rabbits is an activity she enjoys.
The painting is inscribed with Hirt’s signature “H. Hirt Munchen” at the lower right corner.
Girl With Rabbits – Frederick Stuart Church
Frederick Stuart Church was an American artist who primarily worked on animal depictions in natural or figurative compositions. While most other American artists traveled to Europe to study art, Church took pride in “original American art.” He created several illustrations for various periodicals and commercial companies.
This particular oil painting was created in 1886. It depicts a young lady dressed in white, playing the flute as four white rabbits watch on their hind legs. The girl is leaning against bamboo trees in a lush marshland. The painting was gifted to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1929 by John Gellatly.
The artist painted a second painting depicting the same scene. Again, the girl drops her flute there and stretches a hand out to interact with her furry audience as they cautiously inspect it.
Art is vast; multiple depictions of the same subject may result in diverse renditions. This is true of the various rabbit paintings available today; despite the general view of rabbits, art expresses multifaceted images of the beloved creatures.