Elephant with Raised Trunk (3/4 left)


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

This small, bronze elephant, a playful beast almost the size of a hand, gaily trumpets with his trunk. The unknown artist gave the animal's large rotund shape texture by hammering the surface in an attempt to capture in metal the animal's leathery skin. Folds of skin on the legs suggest his weight, while flared ears with scalloped contours add complexity to the composition.
This sculpted elephant is a reminder of European fascination with exotic beasts. Native to Africa and India, elephants were known in Europe only from literary descriptions, travelers' reports, and the fantastic medieval encyclopedias of animals known as bestiaries.


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