Art and Images in Psychiatry |

The Yellow Cow

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(8):809-810. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.108.
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The earliest representations of animals are found in cave art from the Paleolithic period, at least 20 000 years ago. Vividly realistic animals are shown in hunting scenes or as animal carvings. Their meaning is lost in antiquity, but it is commonly believed that the artists were illustrating hunting rituals and even shamanistic practices. In antiquity, animals were believed to have souls, but with the advent of Christianity these beliefs changed. Egyptian gods frequently had the heads of animals, as did the ancient Minotaur and other chimeras. There were fantastic medieval bestiaries; however, throughout history animals, most often, are depicted realistically.

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Franz Marc (1880-1916), German. The Yellow Cow (Gelbe Kuh), 1911. Oil on canvas, 55⅜ × 74½ in (140.5 × 189.2 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, 49.1210.

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Franz Marc (1880-1916), German. Fate of the Animals, 1913. Oil on canvas, 196 × 266 cm. Offentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel, Switzerland/The Bridgeman Art Library, London, United Kingdom.

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