Anthromorphism is by definition: Any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to animals, non-living things, phenomena, material states, objects or abstract concepts, such as organizations, governments, spirits or deities.
Ever since the dawn of time we have been painting images, our histories and our beliefs, from prehistory cave paintings to books, frescos and in this age comics, film, e-books and video games. We record both history and fantasy to remember, inspire and bring to life concepts that without a drawn hand or image would be left only to the worlds of words and our imagination.
There is one type of image that I feel we are fascinated with and these images prevail and permeate almost everywhere we go, from Mickey Mouse and Tony the Tiger to The Fantastic Mr Fox and Tufty the safety squirrel to name a few. We are in love with the notion of humanising the things in this world, maybe to better understand them, or to be less fearful of them.
In Graphic design anthropomorhic images are created daily, I myself love creating them as I think it’s quite a powerful visual tool and interesting to place animals in human scenarios. I feel we do this to strengthen an emotion or statement by removing the human and placing something wild in its presence as animals are totems of very pure emotive attributes for example a lion may represent courage, rage, kingship; an owl may represent wisdom, knowledge and a sage like quality.
Here is a gallery of 60 or so examples of anthropomorphic art, this is just a small selection which I researched this morning, but have a look for yourself, the world is littered with them and if you find any great examples it would be great if you could link them in the comments below.
Animal Anthropomorphs and Art