Animals, both wild and domesticated, have been a source of inspiration for mankind since the beginning of time and have been depicted everywhere, from cave walls in prehistoric times to the most disconcerting contemporary creations. Alternately feared, respected, exploited, annihilated, cherished or worshipped, animals have haunted man, personifying every aspect of good and evil.

The aim of this exhibition is to illustrate the different ways in which animals have been represented within the decorative arts according to materials, form and even symbolism. The visitor finds himself both surprised and delighted when confronted with these different means of artistic expression which invite him to question man’s relationship with animals and its development over time. When looked at in terms of raw materials – wool, silk, fur and skins, feathers, mother-of-pearl, bones etc – the uses, associations and transformations that are made of each of these materials embellishes them. The artists have succeeded in revealing the preciousness and originality of certain objects in an unexpected manner.

Animals examines several themes: “Animals as ornament”, “Borrowing an animal’s form”, “Animals at table”, “Animals as decorative objects”, “Animals as symbols”, “Animals mirroring mankind” and “The animal side of animals”.

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