A Four-Year Old Asian Elephant at the Oregon Zoo

April 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon has one of the most successful captive elephant breeding programs in the world. Their elephants have been closely observed and meticulously cared for since the zoo began keeping them in 1953. Important discoveries in elephant biology and communication have been made at the Oregon Zoo.
The zoo is home to the four year-old male Asian elephant Samudra, known as Sam and sometimes called Roscoe by his keeper, elephant curator Bob Lee. Sam is about the same age as Annone was when he arrived in Rome in 1514.
Elephants vary considerably in size, depending on genetics, diet and other factors. Judging from the relative sizes of the mahout and the animal in Romano’s drawing, Annone appears to have been quite a bit taller than Sam, or else the men in the drawing are very short. The proportions of head to body size are also different in the two elephants.
Even at 4,000 pounds, a four year-old elephant is still immature. Sam’s mother will still allow him to nurse. He engages contentedly with a ball, kicking, picking it up and throwing it, sitting and rolling his huge body on top of it, in extended periods of pure play like a puppy or a child. It is reasonable to assume that Annone at age four was physiologically similar to Sam, that he had reached the same level of maturity, had the same ability to learn and desire to play.

Elephantasia 2

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Engraving, School of Martin Schongauer, 1500-1550

Etching, Gerard Groenning, 1563

Engraving, Jacob de Fornazeris, 1597-1622

Etching and Engraving, Joannes van Doetecum after Hieronymus Bosch, 1550-1570

Engraving, Georg Pencz, 1539(c.)

Engraving, Diana Scultori after Giulio Romano, 1575

Woodcut, Donat Hübschmann, 1563-1566

Engraving, published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi, 1547-1591


White Elephant on Black

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Etching, Grant Ditzler, 2011, on 22″x30″ Black Arches

Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium

April 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Venatio (plural- venationes), Latin for “hunt.”

Originally refering to the hunting of wild animals for food or sport, venationes evolved into a form of entertainment in Ancient Rome featuring the harassment and slaughter of wild animals in public arenas. Tens of thousands of animals were imported at great expense from across the empire to be killed in front of large audiences at the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. Criminals and prisoners of war were also killed, sometimes by animals, in a display of Imperial power and wealth. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands of elephants were among the slaughtered, some captured in war, others imported for the public spectacle.

The engravings are from the series Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium, by Carel van Mallery after drawings by Jan van der Straet, published in Antwerp in 1596 (or after). These examples are in the British Museum.

Anamorphic Annone

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Print the image on A3 paper. Roll a piece of reflective Mylar into a tube about 15cm tall, 7.5cm in diameter and place it on the crosshairs in the middle of the image. Gather some satyrs and admire the elephant.

Anamorphosis & Arcimboldo

April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Eight Satyrs Admiring the Anamorphosis of an Elephant, Simon Vouet, c.1625

Earth, Giuseppe Arcimboldo c. 1570

Elephants in Rome Today

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

” Hi! We are Nelly and Sofia and we arrived at the old Rome Zoo in 1972 when we were just two years old. We come from the Assam region in India, where we were captured and taken from our natural habitat at a time when, unlike today, zoos used this awful practice. Since we got here we have always lived together and our bond is very strong. We are inseparable! Can you tell us apart?
Sofia is taller, with the bigger head and pink ears. Nelly, even though she is smaller, is the dominant female.”

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