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14 Medieval Painters’ Attempts at Animals They Never Saw

 Medieval times were strange times in more aspects than one, and one look at medieval art is enough to prove it. When it came to painting animals, there was an extra layer of difficulty for the medieval artists: the fact that they have never seen the creatures which they were trying to depict. While today a simple google search can show us anything we desire, from animals to remote corners of the universe, it wasn’t the case back then. Not only was photography nonexistent, but even access to books was extremely limited. That means a lot of information had to be passed word-to-mouth.

Naturally, most people hadn’t seen many exotic animals with their own eyes, but this didn’t seem to stop anyone from trying to paint them. The results are some of the most peculiar representations of animals we’ve ever seen. The following hilarious pictures were originally part of a Twitter thread started by blogger Daniel Holland. Daniel said in a statement to Bored Panda that he was inspired to create the thread after seeing a segment in the TV show ‘Horrible Histories’ about inaccurate medieval art. These examples of terrible animal paintings are sure to entertain you.

1. A Whale, Unknown Artist, 13th Century

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, whale

2. A Crocodile, Edward Topsell, 1658

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, crocodile

3. A Snail, Jacob van Maerlant, c. 1350

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, snail
Related: How Jesters Really Lived Their Lives in the Middle Ages

4. An Oyster, Unknown Artist

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, oyster

5. Elephants, Unknown Artist, Late 13th Century

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, elephant

Related: 12 Amazing Digital Reconstructions of Medieval Castles

 

6. Elephant with a Tornado Trunk, Jacob van Maerlant

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, elephant

7. Owl with a Human Face, Unknown Artist

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, owl

8. A Rhinoceros, Casper Schmalkalden, 17th Century

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, rhinoceros

9. Crocodile, Unknown Artist, Late 13th Century

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, crocodile

10. Beaver with a Fishtail, Unknown Artist

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, beaver

11. Lions and Bears, Unknown Artist, Early 13th Century

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, lions and bears

12. A Hippopotamus, Jacob van Maerlant, c. 1350

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, hippopotamus

13. A Crocodile, Unknown Artist, c. 1250-1260

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, crocodile

14. A Leopard, from The Rochester Bestiary

Hilarious Medieval Paintings of Animals, leopard
Share these hilarious paintings with friends and family to make them laugh
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