Anthropomorphic Art Analytical Essay by Nicky

A look at how anthropomorphic characters are used by visual artists as a metaphor for the human condition.
# 150094 | 1,815 words | 7 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 25, 2012 in Art (General)

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This paper discusses how anthropomorphism is a time-honored literary and visual device that has been used to satirize and comment on the human condition. The paper explores this subject and attempts to show how anthropomorphism functions in the works of three visual artists. The three artists are Art Speigleman, John Tenniel and Alexandre Gabriel Decamps. Together with illustrations of their work, the paper examines how Speigelman used this method to make a vivid and strong statement about the human condition and the propensity for human cruelty and injustice in history. The paper also looks at how John Tenniel and Alexandre Gabriel Decamps have employed anthropocentricism to expose pretention in culture and to express their views about society.

John Tenniel
Alexandre Gabriel Decamps

From the Paper:

" Sir John Tenniel was well known as an illustrator and is possibly best known today from his cartoons and caricatures for Punch magazine. He is also renowned for his illustrations in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Tenniel used anthropomorphism and caricature to comment on human foibles and ultimately as a means of questioning and satirizing the society of the time. For example, he satirized nationalistic and patriotic concerns, such as the conflict and tension between England and Ireland. He achieves this by making use of animals and other graphic metaphors to express his views.
"He created numerous cartoons and caricatures of political life and of members of parliament, depicting some members of government with vulture's heads and other anthropomorphic devices to satirize geed, incompetency and the abuse of power. The following illustration is a clear indication of the way that he represented the difficult and obstinate Irish land question by using the image of a bull to symbolize these qualities."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anthropomorphism. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from
  • Anthropomorphism: New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from
  • Art for Art's Sake:Spiegelman Speaks on RAW's Past, Present and Future
  • Art Spiegelman's MAUS: Working-Through The Trauma of the Holocaust. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from
  • Heller, Steven. In Praise of the Anthropomorphic. Retrieved September 10, 2009, from

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Anthropomorphic Art (2012, January 25) Retrieved December 10, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Anthropomorphic Art" 25 January 2012. Web. 10 December. 2023. <>