Digital Artists Give Their Own “Animalistic” Spin On Classical Paintings

By Larissa C

You probably know that there are different types of intelligence. In fact, there are so many that researchers can’t even reach a unanimous number of types of intelligence. At some point in your life, you must’ve heard of these types, such as linguistic intelligence, musical intelligence, and logical-mathematical skills, among others. While you can excel at more than one, you can’t be good at all of them. One of the most sought-after types of intelligence is spatial intelligence, which is related to one’s drawing skills. And don’t we all wish we could create beautiful pieces of art using a pencil? But having the skill is not all it takes to create art. You also need to have a fertile imagination and lots of creativity. One perfect example is a freelance design platform that challenged artists to re-create their favorite pieces of classical art — but using animals instead! In this article, we’re going to show you the best ones. Here are 40 digital artists that gave their own “animalistic” spin to classical paintings!

#01: Goat with a Ring.

There’s not much information regarding Werner van den Valckert (a Dutch painter), but we do know that his pieces are unique. And that’s what makes him stand out — van den Valckert used the same color schemes and painting styles as his colleagues, but his subjects had a certain depth to them.

Image courtesy of DutchPuh/DesignCrowd

In his painting Man with a Ring, you can tell that the model was in love and more than ready to get married just by looking into his eyes. But we don’t know if we can say the same about this re-creation. Judging by the goat’s gaze and smirk, we’d say he’s actually a player!

#02: The New Smoker.

Some artists have such a unique style that you can tell which works they created just by looking at some aspects of said work. Van Gogh is one of those artists — even if you’re looking at one of his paintings for the first time, you can tell he’s the genius behind it.

Image courtesy of PixJockey/DesignCrowd

The Smoker is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s lesser-known paintings, but the traces of his brush are a dead giveaway that he’s the artist. And this user managed to re-create the brushstrokes — even if he replaced the man of the original painting with this adorable chimp!

#03: P. Tigris, Prince of the Wilderness

Europe has a very long history with the monarchy, and one of the favorite things of royal families was to have their portraits painted by talented artists. In Spain, Juan Pantoja de La Cruz was one of these artists; he was commissioned to paint the portrait of Felipe Manuel, the young prince of Savoya.

Image courtesy of JanStaes/DesignCrowd

This digital artist decided to replace the figure of the young prince with a majestic tiger. In a way, this makes sense. Considering that lions are the kings of the wilderness, and tigers are the princes by default. And this prince is so fluffy that it makes us want to pet those adorable paws!

#04: The Goat Without the Pearl!

If we are to consider the billions of people who have inhabited this planet since its early years, it’s safe to say that there are millions of artists whose legacies were lost in time. While Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot is not one of those artists, he’s certainly not one of the most popular either.

Image courtesy of Mupshur/DesignCrowd

Corot was pretty talented, and he created an impressive piece of art with his The Woman With the Pearl painting. And this digital artist gave the original painting an interesting spin. Not only did they replace the woman with the goat, but they also removed her pearl!

#05: Dog Portrait.

If you like art and history, you’ve probably heard of Jacque-Louis David. This artist was extremely relevant and influential during the French Revolution and the subsequent era of France’s history. And while he was in prison, he created a self-portrait that became a masterpiece.

Image courtesy of LloydDallas/DesignCrowd

David’s self-portrait had quite a few interesting details regarding the illumination and choice of colors. It was also a mirrored image of himself, and that’s why this dog is holding the brush with his left paw. In reality, the original painter was right-handed and didn’t look nearly as good as this beautiful Labrador!

#06: Portrait of Catty.

This next piece of art is quite interesting to talk about. The original painting created a lot of “controversy” when it was first created because people thought (rightfully so) that the girl in the portrait was the illegitimate daughter of an important duke.

Image courtesy of icyall/DesignCrowd

The painter created such mystery over the painting — especially when people wanted to know where the girl got her haircut. While the digital artist chose to replace the girl with their favorite animal, they made sure to keep the haircut. This is an effective way of letting people know that bad haircuts have been around since time immemorial!

#07: The Medici Dog?

The Medici family was one of the most influential families in the Republic of Florence. It’s important to mention that this family was really into art, so it’s no wonder that all members of the family had their own portraits.

Image courtesy of miguelparisi/DesignCrowd

Because of their love for the arts, the Medicis funded artists and helped the Renaissance movement. This artist chose to re-create this portrait of a member of the Medici family because of their importance and also because they had lots of dogs!

#08: Portrait of Lion Cub VIII!

While there are different types of paintings that are popular nowadays, portraits were the most hyped art back in the day. Every royal or wealthy family wanted to have their portraits painted so they could display them in their houses.

Image courtesy of Juano/DesignCrowd

King Henry VIII obviously wouldn’t miss the opportunity to have his portrait, and he hired the artist who could re-create his figure almost perfectly on the canvas, Hans Holbein. The original painting was re-created with a lion instead of the king — and maybe this is inspired by Queen Elizabeth I’s infamous quote saying that she’s a lion cub!

#09: Young Horse with Unicorn.

If you’ve ever watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you know that the beloved turtles are named after influential Renaissance artists. While Leonardo and Michelangelo might be the most famous artists out of the four references, Donatello and Raphael also created revolutionary pieces.

Image courtesy of Worth1000/DesignCrowd

Do you recognize this painting? The original was Raphael’s Young Woman with Unicorn. The digital artist decided to re-create this painting and make it more accurate. He replaced the woman with a horse — because it makes way more sense for a horse to be the one to give birth to a unicorn!

#10: Portrait of a Lady Cat.

Few artists got to enjoy their success while still alive, as Rogier van der Weyden did. The artist was incredibly popular and sought-after for his ability to create incredible portraits that truly expressed the emotions and assets of the models.  

Image courtesy of anime_honeydew/DesignCrowd

The original painting that inspired this re-creation didn’t have a title, so people started calling it Portrait of a Lady, but we prefer the Portrait of a Lady Cat. The digital artist managed to capture the same shy demeanor as the original model, including the clasped hands!

#11: Portrait of a Young Noble-Cat.

Nicolas de Largillière was one of the most popular portrait painters in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. He was known for being able to re-create his models in a delicate and accurate way, and this digital artist decided to re-create one of his most famous paintings.

Image courtesy of maxalex/DesignCrowd

In the original art, there’s a young nobleman (hence the title of the painting) petting his adorable dog. The artist replaced the young man with a cat — and he made this painting even better than it already was. One could say that it might even inspire cats and dogs to become friends!

#12: Whistler’s Stork.

While most people associate classical art with Europe, there were many talented painters in North America as well, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler was one of them. The artist was known for his experimental methods and his use of darker palettes.

Image courtesy of Osquip/DesignCrowd

When his model didn’t show up one day, Whistler decided to paint a portrait of his mother instead. This digital artist re-created the painting using even darker tones and replacing the mother with a stork which is on point, considering the popular myth that storks are the ones who deliver babies!

#13: Princess Swan of Swanland.

Nattier was a popular painter in France, and his models were usually females. He loved representing the female form and creating portraits of women wearing the most beautiful outfits. And he was the painter to create portraits of King Louis XV’s eight daughters.

Image courtesy of DutchPuh/DesignCrowd

Princess Sophie was one of these daughters, and she was rather shy and quiet. And that’s why this digital artist decided to re-create the original painting with a beautiful swan instead. Swans have a mysterious vibe, and so did Princess Sophie of France!

#14: Portrait of a Dog with a Squirrel and a Starling.

Artists often use a lot of symbolism in their paintings, and Hans Holbein was no different. When he painted the Portrait of a Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, he used the grapevine to represent wealth (the subject was a wealthy lady), the squirrel to represent the lady’s family, and the bird to represent the lady’s address.

Image courtesy of ninazer0/DesignCrowd

When the digital artist re-created this painting, they kept the same color scheme and the animals originally present in the painting. He replaced the lady with a Dalmatian, which represents his beloved dog. The dog might not be financially wealthy, but it is rich in love and affection, that’s for sure!

#15: The Lioness Maid.

Vermeer was the author of many incredible paintings, even though his Girl with a Pearl Earring is his most popular one. Another one of his creations was The Milkmaid, in which he depicts a common kitchen maid doing one of her daily tasks.

Image courtesy of lucasdemon/DesignCrowd

Even if the act of pouring milk into a pot is quite simple, the painting’s popularity can be attributed to the lady and her facial expression and stance. We have to say that this digital artist did a great job in replacing the maid with a lioness, for they’re both captivating subjects!

#16: The Rainbow Portrait of an Elephant.

Queen Elizabeth I had tons of portraits of herself painted by different artists. In fact, the queen was represented in different mediums, including in some of Shakespeare’s plays. While her portraits were meant to display the queen’s figure around the palace, some of the portraits had deeper meanings.

Image courtesy of halvarado/DesignCrowd

One of these portraits with deeper meanings was the Rainbow Portrait, which was meant to associate the queen with wisdom, peace, and even the sun. The artist who re-created the original painting chose to paint an elephant, and we can tell that this is a wise elephant.

#17: Dog with a Boy.

If you have some knowledge of different art styles, you probably know that Impressionist paintings are some of the easiest to recognize, given the layers of colors all over the paintings. And it’s pretty obvious that his next piece of art was re-created from an Impressionist painting.

Image courtesy of VikaValter/DesignCrowd

In the original painting, the dog is taking a nap with his head on the boy’s legs. The digital artists decided to maintain the two original characters — but switched their positions. Here, the boy is the one who’s taking a nap, and his loyal friend is watching over him!

#18: La Scimpanzé Velata.

If you ever date a painter, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll become the inspiration for some of their creations. Raphael might have been one of the most important artists in the history of the world, but he was also just a man who cherished his different mistresses.

Image courtesy of tylart/DesignCrowd

One of his paramours was Margarita Luti, who became the subject of at least two of his paintings. The digital artist who re-created this piece of art replaced the beautiful Margarita with a female chimp, and you can tell she’s a sassy one, just like the original model!

#19: “Nightfalcons”

Realist painters represent life as they see it, rather than idealistic versions of their surroundings. Edward Hopper was a great painter of the Realistic movement. Hopper lived through both World Wars, the Great Depression, and Pearl Harbor — this explains why his paintings were so “dark.”

Image courtesy of Wordslinger/DesignCrowd

One of his famous works, Nighthawks, depicts people gathered in a bar called Phillies. In this re-creation, not only did the digital artist replace the four people with falcons, but they also changed the name of the bar to match the new theme.

#20: The Sewing Cat.

Bouguereau was a popular realistic painter who loved to depict females in his paintings. And if you take a moment to check his works, you’ll see that he was pretty good at it. This digital artist, on the other hand, likes to use cats as models instead.

Image courtesy of avivdaire/DesignCrowd

And that’s why they decided to replace the original model, a young woman sewing a dress in front of her house, with a cat. It’s interesting to note how they painted the cat in a realistic way, which makes us wonder how a cat would be able to sew anything using only its paws!

#21: The Noble Panther With its Hand on its Chest.

If animals had a concept of nobility like humans do, one thing is for sure: felines would definitely be the royal ones. Lions are imposing animals with majestic manes — it’s no wonder that they’re considered the kings of the wilderness.

Image courtesy of fexi99/DesignCrowd

But if we’re talking about feline nobility, we can’t leave panthers out of the royal lineage. These animals are sophisticated and mysterious, which certainly fits this painting. The original was a portrait painted by El Greco, but this re-creation looks much more fun!

#22: The King (of the House).

People who have a cat at home know how they sometimes act like they own the place. And maybe this is something that they inherited from their feline relatives in the wild. But one thing is for sure: this cat looks like the kind of king we’d love to follow!

Image courtesy of sugarcane/DesignCrowd

This digital artist did a great job re-creating a portrait of one of the kings of England. It’s so well done that one might even think they just photoshopped a cat into the picture. In actuality, the cat was actually drawn into the picture!

#23: The Frog Lute Player.

One thing you might have noticed in all the paintings so far is that both the originals and re-creations feature mostly darker colors, and the models usually look pretty serious. While some of that is a reflection of the artist’s own mood and personality, Frans Hals was a bit different.

Image courtesy of bugwagon/DesignCrowd

This Dutch painter had a unique way of reflecting his subjects’ personalities, and it’s no different with The Lute Player. The original model is seen smiling while holding onto the lute — and this digital artist re-created the painting in the best way possible. The frog’s smile is just too adorable!

#24: Portrait of an Unknown Cat.

It’s amazing to think that painters can not only depict their models perfectly on a canvas, but they can also express the model’s personality and identity with just a brush and some paint. You have to be really talented to accomplish this, and Kramskoy certainly had the talent and skills.

Image courtesy of Worth 1000

One of the European artist’s most famous paintings shows an unknown woman staring directly at the canvas, almost as if she was gazing into your eyes and challenging you. While the cat in this re-creation is not staring at us, we can tell that it is just as strong and independent as the woman in the original!

#25: The real king.

King Philip II might have been the first French king to call himself the “King of France,” but there was another king in the area long before he arrived. Yes, we’re talking about the lion king (no reference to that popular movie).

Image courtesy of Bainay/DesignCrowd

If you don’t know much about France’s history, all you have to know is that Philip II was a successful king and managed to turn his country into a powerful one. Hence why this digital artist decided to re-create his famous portrait with a lion. This animal certainly represents power and strength.

#26: Cat portrait.

At some point in your life, you must’ve heard someone mentioning how artists are selfish and in love with themselves. While this is not necessarily true, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t artists who are exactly like that. Rembrandt might be one of them.

Image courtesy of saphra/DesignCrowd

We’re not saying that this important painter was in love with himself, but maybe he was. Why else would he paint approximately 40 self-portraits if he wasn’t? It makes a lot of sense that this digital artist would re-create one of his portraits with a cat. After all, who loves cats more than cats love themselves?

#27: Camel With a Golden Earring?

Back in 1665, Johannes Vermeer created what would become one of the most famous paintings in art history — his iconic Girl With a Pearl Earring. The painting is so relevant that it even inspired the creation of novels, plays, and even a movie with Scarlett Johansson!

Image courtesy of Mandrak/DesignCrowd

While the original painting may not look like something out of the extraordinary, it is quite captivating, especially because of the way the girl looks at you. Well, we can definitely say that this digital artist achieved the same result because this camel is indeed intriguing!

#28: Mrs. Giraffe.

Back in the earlier centuries — when portraiture was as popular as selfies are today — the families who commissioned portraits from talented artists probably never imagined that their images would become so popular all over the world in the ages to come.

Image courtesy of CopperMiner/DesignCrowd

In fact, it’s kind of amazing that mere portraits can be so captivating. But that’s just a result of artists’ talents. In Sir Frederic Leighton’s Mrs. James Guthrie, the lady in the portrait looks simple and shy. And this cute giraffe managed to capture that essence and give off the same vibe!

#29: Self-portrait of a…tapir?

A couple of slides ago, we talked about artists painting their self-portraits. While Rembrandt and other artists painted quite a few portraits of themselves, this kind of art wasn’t always popular. In fact, the earliest self-portraits were received with quite a few questions.

Image courtesy of Lukesome/DesignCrowd

For the general public, it didn’t make much sense that artists would “waste” time depicting themselves when their income came from capturing others. But that didn’t stop Albrecht Dürer from creating his self-portraits. Though we have to say that this self-portrait of a Tapir is slightly more interesting to look at!

#30: A different Innocence.

When people talk about innocence, they usually associate this with children, females, and lambs (in a biblical sense). And that’s exactly why Bouguereau titled one of his famous paintings The Innocence and painted all three symbols of innocence at once.

Image courtesy of rob_church/DesignCrowd

This digital artist had a peculiar approach when re-creating the original painting with animals. Lions are certainly not associated with innocence — quite on the contrary, actually. But somehow, he managed to give this lion a calm and innocent aura, and we can’t possibly imagine this animal causing any harm to the baby or the little lamb!

#31: Lady Cat Among the Animals.

This next re-creation is quite interesting when you consider the original. The painter, Dürer, finished the work in five days, and it had quite a deep religious meaning to him. The painting is his interpretation of an episode of the Christian bible.

Image courtesy of Mikira/DesignCrowd

The digital artist who re-created the original painting was quite creative in replacing the men from the original with different animals. They’re all clearly obsessed with the cat — but what’s really catching our eye here is the dog on the lower right. Now, that’s a beautiful beard!

#32: Portrait of A Couple.

When we think of cats and dogs, the first thing that comes to mind is the alleged rivalry between these two species. But judging by his re-creation, this digital artist clearly has a different perspective on the relations between felines and canines.

Image courtesy of watschi/DesignCrowd

The original painting is a portrait of Frans Snyders (a painter) and his wife Margareta, painted by Anthony van Dyck (another painter). The artist replaced the couple with a cat and a dog, and it’s interesting to notice how the dog is staring at his companion while she’s ignoring his gaze. 

#33: The Ape with the Golden Helmet.

For some time back in the 20th century, plenty of Rembrandt’s works went under investigation in order to determine if the pieces were actually his. It turns out that some of the paintings were created by Rembrandt’s friends and followers, including the painting The Man with the Golden Helmet.

Image courtesy of frank1956/DesignCrowd

The authorship of the original painting might be a mystery, but there’s no mistaking this re-creation for another artist’s style. The digital artist is pretty into animals, especially non-human primates, and that’s why he chose to replace the man with this cute chimp.

#34: The Skating Bird.

Having an artist — especially a painter — as a best friend means that you have a bigger chance than other people of having your portrait captured. And that’s exactly what happened with Robert Walker and his good friend Henry Raeburn.

Image courtesy of cemaydin/DesignCrowd

Walker was a church minister, and Raeburn was a painter. In the original, Walker is skating with his arms crossed. In the re-creation, the artist replaced the minister with a bird. This interpretation is really interesting and unique, and it’s nice how it remained as stylish as the original!

#35: Lion X

Do you know how some people are so imposing and strong-willed to the point that others associate them with wild animals? Well, that’s certainly the case with Louis X, the Duke of Bavaria. He was such an imposing man that he managed to become co-regent against his own father’s rules!

Image courtesy of auert03/DesignCrowd

It only makes sense that this Austrian artist would choose this particular portrait of Louis X as inspiration for his re-creation. And, in his opinion, the animal that best represented Louis X’s true essence was a lion, considering that the duke was just as ferocious!

#36: Portrait of Dürer’s Chimp?

To become a successful artist, one must have not only the talent and skills but also a revolutionary vision. Artists look at the world through a different lens, and Albrecht Dürer had a thing for representing different stages of a person’s life.

Image courtesy of bambampitbull/DesignCrowd

In his self-portraits, Dürer represented himself in different stages of his life. And he did the same with his parents’ portraits. While this digital artist couldn’t exactly represent the chimp’s age through the painting, we definitely loved how the chimp pursed her lips!

#37: Vincent Van Goat!

Vincent Van Gogh was such an extraordinary artist that his legacy still lives strong today. And his influence is so extensive that even the people who are not interested in the arts know who he was. Who doesn’t know about Van Gogh’s ear?

Image courtesy of Worth 1000

Even if his final years were pretty rough, his illness certainly didn’t erase his legacy. Van Gogh’s self-portraits and experiments with different styles and color schemes were iconic, and so is this re-creation. We bet that the artist chose a goat for the re-creation because of the wordplay with Van Gogh’s name!

#38: Portrait of a Monkey Sharpening a Banana.

While noblemen wanted their portraits to represent their greatness, others wanted their portraits to represent essential parts of their daily routines or professions. For instance, there was a scholar who commissioned a portrait from Rembrandt, and the portrait showed him at his workstation.

Image courtesy of MadsDK/DesignCrowd

The scholar is holding a quill and sharpening it in the original portrait. This digital artist decided to re-create the painting with one of his favorite animals, the Proboscis monkey. And if you take a look at his hands, he’s not holding a quill — instead, the monkey is holding a banana!

#39: Portrait of a Young Rabbit.

Throughout the entirety of this article, you probably noticed how the digital artists featured here tended to replace humans with the same animals over and over. Most of the paintings depicted cats or dogs or lions — but there were no rabbits!

Image courtesy of noviceatbest/DesignCrowd

Rabbits are one of the cutest animals, and they can represent things such as prosperity and gentleness. And that’s why this digital artist chose to re-create the only female portrait authored by Albrecht Altdorfer (which depicts a gentle-looking woman) with a cute rabbit!

#40: The Writing Dog.

Because we want to end this article in great style, we chose one of the winning pictures in the “Animal Renaissance” contest. While it’s kind of difficult to track the original artist, this painting is clearly a portrait of a scholar writing something with his quill.

Image courtesy of sugarcane/DesignCrowd

As you can see, the dog in this re-creation is pretty realistic. In fact, it looks so real that one might even think that it’s a picture and not a piece of digital art. This artist certainly deserved the winning spot in the competition, given his attention to detail when creating this amazing picture!