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Last Two Days to See Clara the Rhino

Don't miss it—the final weekend of Oudry's Painted Menagerie. Bid a farewell to Clara before she gets back in her crate for her next stop...

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With the Elegance of Courtiers: Oudry's Graceful Animals

For me, one of the most revealing aspects of this fascinating exhibition were the many "Claras" in porcelain and other precious materials that brought up the last segment of the great animal parade. Witty and endlessly inventive, they called me to notice the decorative aspects of the animals in Oudry's paintings and drawings as well...

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Painting Oudry

I have been studying Oudry's painting and drawing methods both for my own research as a painter and as part of the Artist-At-Work Demonstration series that I have had the opportunity to present at the Getty Museum this summer. One drawing in particular pulls everyone in...

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Sitting, Looking, and Being Looked At

As you enter the exhibition Oudry's Painted Menagerie, you'll notice that there is an area of tiered seating directly opposite Oudry's monumental life-size picture of Clara the rhinoceros. At the risk of sounding really weird, I can honestly say that I've never been so pleased with gallery seating in my life...

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A Sensational and Sentimental Rhino, Part 2

In part one of this post I talked about animals as exotic spectacle and the ethics of display. But what did 18th-century audiences think about the sentimental life of these animals being offered for their entertainment?

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A Sensational and Sentimental Rhino, Part 1

In the 1740s Clara the rhinoceros sailed from India into the Age of Reason. She arrived in a political world that would soon declare that "all men are created equal" without abolishing slavery or stepping back from the colonizing of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The West was redefining what it meant to be a human, an individual, and a self in this period. But what, then, did it mean to be an animal in Enlightenment Europe? The images and objects collected in Oudry's Painted Menagerie tell part of that story...

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Randa, Meet Clara. Clara, Randa.

Next time you visit the L.A. Zoo, keep an eye out for special signs on the exhibits featuring animals represented in Oudry's Painted Menagerie...

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See William Friedkin's New Documentary This Friday

It took years for paintings conservators at the Getty Museum to restore Jean-Baptiste Oudry's Rhinoceros and Lion to their original glory. Filmmaker William Friedkin (The French Connection, the Exorcist, Bug) was there every step of the way to capture the painstaking, creative, and delicate work of restoring these two masterpieces...

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