The Elephant

A work made of engraving on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving on ivory laid paper.

Date:

c. 1485

Artist:

Martin Schongauer
German, c. 1430/50-1491

About this artwork

Martin Schongauer may have engraved his fantastical Griffin and his Elephant as a pair, given their similar scale. Although he may have had the opportunity to see a real elephant in 1483, this depiction is clearly inaccurate by modern standards. Nonetheless, by the mid-16th century, his print became the basis for scientific illustration in Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner’s 1551 book on animals. The two prints may also relate to Schongauer’s series of coats of arms with fanciful animals decorating their shields.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Martin Schongauer

Title

The Elephant

Origin

Germany

Date

1450–1491

Medium

Engraving on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

102 × 128 (image); 102 × 130 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number

1956.912

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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