Fish in Art

Front Cover
Reaktion Books, 2012 - Art - 248 pages

From the Dutch artist Jacob Gillig's many still lifes to Renoir's The Fish Monger and Manet's Fishing, fish have inspired artists for thousands of years. They appear in the work of the old Dutch and Flemish masters as well as in the creations of French, English, and American painters. Yet the social and cultural significance of fishes' representation in art has been overlooked. Christine E. Jackson remedies this deficiency in Fish in Art, an original perspective on the artistic legacy of fish and the fishing industry.

Surveying paintings from 2000 B.C. to the present, Jackson examines how representations of fish in art have evolved. She also delves into depictions of fish in kitchenware and tableware. Alongside her analysis of these artworks, she explores the social and historical issues that have engaged artists, including religious decrees on when to eat fish, the legacies of cod wars, and the rise and fall of particular ports. Widening her scope, she considers the ethics of catching fish and the ongoing industrial changes in the canning, ice, and salt industries, grounding her artistic study in the physical conditions of fishing and the fish trade, as well as the preparation, cooking, eating, and storage of these gilled creatures. Packed with over two hundred images, Fish in Art will capture the interest of fishermen, natural historians, and art students alike.

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About the author (2012)

Christine E. Jackson is a fellow of the Linnean Society and a committee member of the Society for the History of Natural History, for which she was awarded the Founders' Medal in 1996. She is the author of Peacock and Great Bird Paintings of the World.

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