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Clara the Rhino Art

Most of the art made from the likeness of Clara was produced during her heyday in the 1750s. While there is not one singular primary source that allows us to follow her European tour, we can piece together her trail with known artists, their products, and the cities in which they worked. 

Below you'll find many famous pieces of art with Clara. We can assume that rhino art made around 1750 is from her likeness, as no other rhino was in Europe.

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1747 Broadside

1747 Broadside

This 1747 Broadside depicts Clara and Douwe. This etching by Bodenerh was used many times in Clara's advertisements. Sometimes she faces the opposite direction, and often the background changes. The words essentially tell the audience where she can be seen and describe her fantastically.

Gilt Bronze Clock, ca. 1750

Gilt Bronze Clock, ca. 1750

This stunning clock by Jean-Joseph De Saint-Germain is one of the finest pieces created from Clara's legacy.

Bronze Figurine, ca. 1750-1760

Bronze Figurine, ca. 1750-1760

This beautiful bronze was perhaps made by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, who also created a marble sculpture of Clara. After molds were made, they were often sold to multiple companies to manufacture pieces in different materials.

Porcelain Rhino, ca. 1750

Porcelain Rhino, ca. 1750

Johann Kaendler made Clara come to life in his molds for the Meissen Porcelain factory. Before Clara's arrival in Dresden, where Kaendler sketched her, Durer's rhino was the archetype used for all Meissen rhinos. This particular example lives in a museum in Qatar.

Clara Medallion

Clara Medallion

Coins were easy ways to make money - literally. Douwe had souvenirs made so that patrons could own a likeness of Clara. This is one of those examples. Made by Veit Schrempf.

Pietro Longhi's Exhibition of a Rhinoceros at Venice

Pietro Longhi's Exhibition of a Rhinoceros at Venice

Commissioned by nobleman Girolamo Mocenigo during Carnival, this striking image of Clara is one of the most famous. Her horn is held in the hand of whom many presume is Douwe - or is he the red cloaked figure to the right? We know for certain it tells an untold story - how did Clara lose her horn?

Eve Presents Adam with the Apple

Eve Presents Adam with the Apple

This etching by J.E. Ridinger shows a beautiful likeness of Clara on the left, the largest animal in the Garden of Eden. This is an example of art not made to showcase Clara herself, though she was the model, but to showcase the majesty of a rhinoceros.

Principessa Maria Luisa Di Borbone

Principessa Maria Luisa Di Borbone

This portrait by Laurent Pecheux shows Maria Luisa and a rhino clock. The clock is one of many created in the 1750s, but this portrait was made in 1765, years after Clara's death.

Porcelain Durer's Rhino

Porcelain Durer's Rhino

Before Meissen's Johann Kaendler, there was Johann Kirchner. As no other depiction of a rhino was more important than Albrecht Durer's in 1515 during the 16th and 17th centuries, it was added to the porcelain menagerie of Meissen, albeit a wildly incorrect anatomical creature. Likely this was made ca. 1730.

Petrus Camper Sketch

Petrus Camper Sketch

Anatomist, zoologist, artist, and naturalist Petrus Camper left behind many charming sketches of Clara. His care in showing the details of her skin and facial expressions is quite evident in this blue-papered sketch made circa 1742-1745.

The Underside of Meissen Rhino

The Underside of Meissen Rhino

Johann Kaendler's work was detailed in every way, even down to the dots of paint on Clara's porcelain belly. Ca. 1750.

Rhinoceros unicornis

Rhinoceros unicornis

This print by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber was for "Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen" published by Wolfgang Walther. The goal of the publication was to highlight every mammal in the world. We believe J.E. Ridinger's sketches of Clara helped von Schreber make this print.

Meissen Rhino

Meissen Rhino

Another angle of Johann Kaendler's careful model of Clara, circa 1750. In the Qatar Orientalist Museum, Doha-Qatar.

Albinus & Wandelaar's Human Anatomy Etching

Albinus & Wandelaar's Human Anatomy Etching

This incredible etching appears in the science-changing anatomy book "Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani." Created by Bernhard Albinus and Jan Wandelaar, the "Tabulae" was ironically criticized by Petrus Camper, who said the fanciful backgrounds were unnecessary. Ironically, Camper sketched Clara as well.

Albinus & Wandelaar's Human and Rhino, Backside

Albinus & Wandelaar's Human and Rhino, Backside

This incredible etching appears in the science-changing anatomy book "Tabulae sceleti et musculorum corporis humani." Created by Bernhard Albinus and Jan Wandelaar, the "Tabulae" was ironically criticized by Petrus Camper, who said the fanciful backgrounds were unnecessary. Ironically, Camper sketched Clara as well.

1747 Broadside

1747 Broadside

This image mentions Douwemout's name in the description, which was used as advertisement. The strangely-depicted native in the top left was likely was an attempt to play into Clara's exotic reputation.

Marble Clara

Marble Clara

Pieter-Antoon Verschaffelt is presumably the creator of this marble sculpture. The texture of her skin here shows true mastery - and a far cry from the moon/leopard combination that Durer depicted in 1515.

Rhino Sketch

Rhino Sketch

The delicate folds of Clara's skin are shown in this Italian sketch. The artist could be Francesco Lorenzi, from the circle of Tiepolo.

Exhibition of the Dutch Rhino Clara in Zurich, 1748

Exhibition of the Dutch Rhino Clara in Zurich, 1748

You can see Clara's wagon on the left in this woodcut. We imagine it is Douwe who holds her skin fold. 1748 woodcut, David Redinger.

Il Rinoceronte

Il Rinoceronte

This Italian painting was once attributed to Pietro Longhi, but more modern research reveals it may not be his work. Note Clara's wagon, and the attentive servant in the lower left. That boy is one of the inspirations for the character Zubin. Circa 1751.

Petrus Camper Sketch

Petrus Camper Sketch

The study of Clara by Camper was one done in great detail. This sketch shows her horn barely grown in, so we can assume she is around three years old. Ca. 1740-1742.

Oudry's Rhino

Oudry's Rhino

This is perhaps the finest image of Clara. Made life size in Paris, it is enormous and heavily detailed. The texture of her skin and gentle expression captured by Jean-Baptiste Oudry is masterful, created in 1749 after a study at the St. Germain fair.

Histoire Naturelle, Quadrupedes

Histoire Naturelle, Quadrupedes

This image shows a similar Oudry engraving of Clara and an African Rhino. Note the inaccuracies - while they added a second horn, they did not change anything else but the way the African rhino was facing. Circa 1760.

Longhi's Rhino Woodcut

Longhi's Rhino Woodcut

You'll notice here that Clara is incorrectly identified as being from Africa in the Italian-language caption. This is the second such image from Pietro Longhi, who created a similar painting. Please note the small child resting his chin on the banister -- inspiration for character Zubin. Ca. 1751.

Early Broadside

Early Broadside

One of the earliest broadsides advertising Clara uses a modified Durer's rhino. It says that the calf has arrived in Middelburg in August 1742, and lists prices for viewers: 20c for adults and 10c for children. It then in handwriting lists her weight at 3500lbs.

Silver Clara Coin

Silver Clara Coin

Ca. 1748, this is one of many beautiful commemorative coins patrons could buy when they visited Clara.

Petrus Camper Sketch

Petrus Camper Sketch

It is evident Camper spent much time in Clara's presence - the anatomist, zoologist, and naturalist was clearly drawn to the only one of her species on the continent. Interestingly, he was opposed to her likeness in Wandelaar's sketches as he said the backgrounds were too fanciful.

Silver Clara Coin

Silver Clara Coin

This is a curious object- you'll note Douwe's name is David on this 1748 coin. While most things have Douwe, this anomaly brings forth a question: was it a misprint or not?

Jacques E. De Seve Rhino

Jacques E. De Seve Rhino

If you've paid attention, you'll see this rhino image is very close to Oudry's. From the Histoire Naturelle of Buffon, this was part of a 44-volume encylopedia set, ca. 1754.

Durer's Rhino

Durer's Rhino

This incredible image made in 1515 by master artist Albrecht Durer represents what the European world thought rhinos of all species looked like. Note the dorsal horn, the skin texture, the armor-like plating, the strange feet, and the whiskery chin. To Durer's credit, he never saw a rhino and was able to produce this from an eye witness report.

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