Frida Kahlo. Self-portrait with Monkey (detail), 1940

Beyond the infamous C.M. Coolidge paintings of Dogs Playing Poker, artists have celebrated human relationships with animals since cavemen first started painting on walls. The Art Institute of Chicago is now hosting to two exhibits of animals in art.

The first, The Beauty of the Beasts: Artists and Their Pets in 20th-Century Art, begins January 7 and runs through March 16 in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.  The exhibit highlights several books from the collection that feature artists and the animals that have inspired them.

The second is an ongoing exhibit in Gallery 55 called Neither Man Nor Beast: Animal Images on Ancient Coins, which explores how animals pervade the imagery found on the gold, silver, and bronze coinage of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.

Here at The Animal Store, we recognize that pets inspire us in many ways. Whether your pet provides a muse for your own art, or is simply providing the inspiration to keep your New Year’s resolutions by taking regular walks, we would love to hear about it. Leave a comment to tell us how your pets inspire you.  Mention this Animals in the Arts post the next time you come into the store and get 15% off any treat* for your favorite animal muse.

*Offer good on white tags only and valid through January 11, 2009