Pére Ubu by Dora Maar, 1936
Authorship by Dora Maar gives this photograph authentic historic and even feminist credibility but I chose it because my main interest in art overall is the representation of animals. This is a very interesting view of a creature commonly seen in Florida (and all over), an armadillo (though this armadillo is of a different species than the nine-banded creatures who sadly cannot navigate traffic).
There is something primitive and otherwordly about armadillos and whatever Maar’s intent may have been in elevating such a seemingly lowly creature into this eerie portrait it is quite a lovely study. Since Maar was interested in primitivism, this seems apt.
With respect to technique, placing the pale, scaly armadillo against a grainy dark background removes it from a natural setting and allows for contemplation of the texture of its skin. The shadows on its chest accentuate its claws. There is no way to tell, framed in this manner, how big the armadillo is, whether he is, as Maar’s title suggests, “king” sized, or tiny like a fetus, which the armadillo also resembles.