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Animal: Exploring the Zoological World

Phaidon. Oct. 2018. 352p. ed. by Phaidon Eds. &{amp}nbsp;. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780714876818. $59.95. FINE ARTS
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James Hanken (Harvard Univ.) and other zoologists and curators present side-by-side pairs of creatures, real, digital, mythical and fantastic, chosen to encourage readers to learn about animals. Giacomo Balla's painting Dynamism of Dog on Leash, showing speed, paired with the illustration of a tortoise in a beribboned bonnet may cause smiles. Tomada's ant infestation museum installation featuring ants made of human skull castings and muslin opposite a 30-foot-tall steel mother spider by Louise Bourgeois may not. While some may prefer to skip over image pairs such as see-through sea creatures and 100-times magnifications of mosquitoes, other images such as the rainbow-like thermogram of penguins showing their warmer heads as lemon yellow and cooler wings as deep purple may fascinate. The time line lists selected works in chronological order from prehistory through the present, and briefly summarizes evolution and the uses of artistic animal images. Includes an animal taxonomy and select biographies of historical and contemporary naturalists, scientists, and artists, as well as a further reading list.
VERDICT Thanks to its easy-to-read text and beautiful illustrations, this coffee table-style book will appeal to art, animal, and cultural history enthusiasts.

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