Animal Portraits and Symbolisms, What They Mean and Why

Humans have been painting and branding images of animals into things for thousands of years. While the practice did have a certain level of practicality to it, scholars also argued that it was due to this primal need for expressing meaning. This is where symbolism comes into play and why some animal portraits can be more expensive than an Amsterdam Top Sightseeing spot tour.

Of course, there are many animal portraits that are cheap and can be found anywhere, but those are most often mass produced artwork. The most expensive examples are the rare, unique items that can only be owned by one person and have specific meaning behind every stroke of the brush. There is power in expressive portraits, which is why they can be so costly.


More than anything else, most of the most well-known animal portraits were basically painted representations of something that wasn’t directly associated with the animals themselves. The portraits were meant to convey certain meanings such as the dominance of a lion or the vulnerability of a rabbit. This is especially the case when the animals are painted against a backdrop of landscapes of varying colors, shapes, and sizes.

Emotional Branding

You know how you feel something you can’t explain when you see something or someplace but you almost immediately love it? Like how you go on an Amsterdam City Trip and you instantly connect with the city. This unexplained connected is how symbolisms in animal portraits can also work. Some people simply see something in a piece of art and can feel how the painter felt when it was made. This then makes them want to own it.

Simple Beauty

Finally, there’s the symbolism of beauty in animal portraits that can be difficult to deny in many works. A lot of people already put a lot of stock in how graceful horses can be or how beautiful certain breeds of dogs are. Putting these images to a canvas and bringing them to life with immeasurable talent is simply a good way of cementing the symbolism that such images meant in artists’ hearts.