The Attitudes of Animals in Motion

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Object Details


The Attitudes of Animals in Motion


Eadweard J. Muybridge (American, born England, 1830 - 1904)




Palo Alto, California, United States, North America (Place created)


1878 to 1881


Iron salt process


Closed: 19.5 × 24.7 × 3.1 cm (7 11/16 × 9 3/4 × 1 1/4 in.)

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...A photograph is made by one of the 24 cameras at every 12 inches of progress, made by the animal during a single stride. The length of each stride may be calculated by the line of consecutive numbers arranged parallel with the track, a number being placed every 12 inches of distance.
--Eadweard J. Muybridge

The possibility for moving pictures originated from a rich man's bet: whether or not a galloping horse ever had all four feet off the ground at any time during its stride. Because the unaided eye cannot see such an instantaneous event, Leland Stanford hired Eadweard Muybridge to photograph his racehorse, Occidental. After Muybridge produced the proof to win the bet, he continued his motion experiments and documented them in this album. He wrote the above passage on the album's first page, describing his methodical approach of rigging twenty-four cameras with electromagnetic shutters--tripped by wires as an animal ran across a track.

Photographs of the cameras show how wires were attached to modified lens shutters; others depict the racetrack, where a long shed with the battery of cameras faced a track with a wall behind to silhouette subjects. Most pages depict animals and humans walking, running, and jumping before the cameras. Muybridge later devised the zoopraxiscope, a rotating device that animated sequences of images.

Related Works
101 Years of California Photography (February 29, 1992 to March 12, 1993) (Image: 116)
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Santa Barbara), February 29 to May 31, 1992
  • Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), June 16 to August 14, 1992
  • Laguna Art Museum (Laguna Beach), January 15 to March 12, 1993
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004) (Image 94 (pages turned each week))
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
In Focus: Animalia (May 26 to October 18, 2015) (Image 43)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 26 to October 18, 2015
Education Resources

Education Resource




Capturing the Moment in 3-D

Students will explore how artists depict motion in a sculpture. Lesson includes observation, and drawing and sculpting activities.

Visual Arts; History–Social Science

3-5; 6-8

Three/Five-Part Lesson