Gold and animals

After having studied the relationship between gold and Man - let us say more exactly the human body - through food, fashion, etc., I now ask myself the question of the links between gold and animals. There are thus "natural" links, more "fantastic" links, and links created from scratch by artists / craftspeople.


Animals, gold and nature

Some animals are naturally the color of gold, they are naturally golden ... I do not want to talk about staphylococcus, nor those baked in the oven, nor the mackerel of the Belgian brand Gold Foil which are ... "simple" mackerel!

No, I'm talking about real animals. Even if some have colors approaching golden yellow, hence the use of the term "golden" (although the history of their scientific name still needs to be explored), we can also see that most of these animals so-called "golden" are either rare or endangered, hey, hey ... Thus, many species have their golden specimens, and in this particular Noah's ark, we could embark: a golden jellyfish, a lion tamarin golden, golden pheasant, golden zebra, golden jackal, golden frog, golden tiger, golden teaser, golden bat, butterfly, mongoose, birds, fish, etc.

To these, we could finally add two insects a little more shimmering: the golden beetle (Chrysina resplendens) and the golden tortoise beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata).


Fabulous animals

But other golden animals exist, especially in the representations. They look like real animals, with the difference that they are straight out of the human imagination, and that they are really golden. Fabulous, legendary and symbolic, these golden animals have magical powers, or are the support of a moral (generally in connection with the greed of men).

Among the most famous are:

  • the occitan golden goat

  • the biblical golden calf

  • the mythological golden fleece

  • and in a more contemporary register: the Hogwarts snitch (you know, the quidditch ball in Harry Potter) whose origin comes from a bird called the golden vivet!

The example of the Quebec golden dog refers to another phenomenon: that of the construction of recent legend and of animals that have become emblems (like those present on arms and other coats of arms), such as "national animals" ... but back to our sheep.

Gold animals are also the object of trophies (distant cousins of hunting trophies ...). The power of an animal, coupled with that of the gold material, makes them the rewards of choice, especially in the cinematographic world: the Golden Lion of the Venice Film Festival, the Chinese Golden Rooster, and the The Golden Bear of the Berlinales attest to this.


Gold and art animals

As regards the arts and crafts, a distinction must be made between gilding practiced on real animals (or rather real skeletons), from that carried out on representations of animals. One of the rare cases of a work of art, where living animals and gold are linked, are the sheaths of Hubert Duprat's trichoptera larvae.In the gilding with gold leaf (always in search of outlets and therefore not escaping the "decorative trend"), we see the emergence of a whole range of new work related to animals :

  • insects being particularly fashionable, the bodies and wings of some are covered with gold leaf: cicadas, dragonflies, butterflies, beetles ...

  • animal skeletons (in the spirit of cabinets of curiosities) are also quite popular: bird skulls, hunting trophies, sea urchin and shell decoys, horns, jaws, wings, crabs and other inhabitants of the marine world. One of the most famous examples remaining the mammoth in gold ("Gone but not forgotten", 2014) by Damien Hirst: a mammoth skeleton entirely covered with gold leaf.

  • finally animal reproductions covered with gold leaf: they can be imaginary fish or insects (like those created by Xavier Noël), the new Golden Calf by Paul Gorostis, an English bulldog (golden sculpture with gold leaf, decorated with electronic components, installed in Strasbourg and produced by Renato Montanaro) or finally the beautiful "Golden Bird" by Zadkine.

The photos illustrating this article are also on Pinterest.