Why Are Animals a Common Subject Used in Art in the Ancient Times?

Animals have been a common subject in art since ancient times. From cave paintings to sculptures, animals have been depicted in various forms of art.

But why were animals such a popular subject? Let’s delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon.


One of the main reasons why animals were commonly used in ancient art was due to their symbolism. Different cultures had different beliefs about certain animals and what they represented.

For example, in ancient Egyptian art, the pharaoh was often depicted with a lion to symbolize strength and power. In Hindu mythology, the god Ganesha is depicted with an elephant head, which represents wisdom and intelligence.

Religious beliefs

Animals also played a significant role in many ancient religions. For example, in Hinduism, cows are considered sacred and are worshipped as a symbol of life and maternal protection. Thus, cows were often depicted in Indian art as a symbol of divinity and purity.


Ancient civilizations relied heavily on nature for survival. Animals were an essential part of their daily lives, providing them with food, clothing, and other necessities. As such, animals became an integral part of their culture and were often celebrated through art.


Apart from symbolism and religious beliefs, animals were also used in ancient art for aesthetic purposes. Many artists found inspiration in nature and incorporated various animals into their artwork to add beauty and depth to their creations.


In addition to aesthetics, many artists used animals as subjects because they wanted to capture realism in their artwork. Ancient Greek sculptors often created lifelike sculptures of horses or other animals to showcase their artistic skills.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, animals have been a popular subject in ancient art due to their symbolism, religious significance, connection to nature, and aesthetic appeal. They continue to be a prevalent subject in modern art, serving as a source of inspiration for artists around the world.