Whether Edgar Allan Poe made you fear ravens or Charles M. Schulz’s Snoopy made you want a beagle, a new show at the Morgan Library & Museum may help you reconnect with your favorite beasts.
“In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music at the Morgan” runs through May 20. The special exhibition explores how animals have appeared as symbols, muses, moral teachers, talking creatures, and beloved companions in 80 works of art in the Morgan's collections.
Artists represented include Albrecht Dürer, T.S. Eliot, David Hockney, George Orwell, Sergei Prokofiev, E.B. White and Virginia Woolf.
Highlights include a first edition of Haydn's "Creation" (in which a "roaring" lion is represented with bass trills and ascending runs symbolize the leaps of the agile tiger), the title page from the 1877 first edition of Anne Sewell’s “Black Beauty” (promising the novel was translated from the “original equine”), a page from Jean de Brunhoff's “Babar” (before Babar wore clothes), an illustration of Snoopy writing another tale (after Schulz decided Snoopy could think).
A letter on display from Poe to his editor with revisions to two stanzas of “The Raven” reveals that the poet’s initial choice for his “bird of ill-omen” was a parrot.