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What Bunnies Are Capable of, Bunny Paintings Not Only for Easter

Animals

What Bunnies Are Capable of, Bunny Paintings Not Only for Easter

I had already written about eggs and how often they feature in art (quirky…). This Easter it is time for another symbol: the Easter Bunny! The cute little rabbit believed to bring Easter eggs to children, originated from the German Lutheran tradition in which the wild hare originally played the role of a judge of children’s behaviour at the start of the season of Eastertide, when only the good ones would get their sweet eggs.

As I searched for some paintings featuring bunnies, I sadly discovered that most of them featured as a hunting game (think of all these still lifes with a hanging rabbit and other yummy spoils… brr…). I’ll spare you this traumatic experience and instead show bunnies which seem more than alive:

Munching away

Henri Rousseau, Rabbit, 1908, Barnes Foundation, Lower Merion, PA, US, bunny paintings
Henri Rousseau, Rabbit, 1908, Barnes Foundation, Lower Merion, PA.

Munching carrots is always a tasty idea for a rabbit. Much better than a single enormous cabbage leaf, I dare say.

Spending time with ladies

Pierre Bonnard, Young Girl Sitting with a Rabbit, 1891, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Pierre Bonnard, Young Girl Sitting with a Rabbit, 1891, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo.

This cute little bunny must be an all-favorite, look at his lovely pink ribbon! No surprise this lady wants to sit next to it. Although the bunny looks to me more like a later addition to this highly Japonist in style (two-dimensionality, S-shaped woman, all space filled with the pattern) Nabis work.

Or saving/kidnapping them

Marc Chagall, The dream (The rabbit), 1927, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France, bunny paintings
Marc Chagall, The dream (The rabbit), 1927, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France.

Many Chagall‘s paintings are dreamy and fairy-tale like, but this painting, what a weird one it is! A giant viola rabbit carrying a naked woman on its back can happen only in dreams, where the ground can be in the sky and the moon is as low as it almost touches the sea… Feels very Surrealist, especially that I’m not sure how to interpret the rabbit’s face expression.

Taking over the world

Oleg Holosiy,Psychedelic Attack of the Blue Rabbits, 1990, Glasgow Museums, bunny paintings
Oleg Holosiy,Psychedelic Attack of the Blue Rabbits, 1990, Glasgow Museums.

A follow up from Surrealism, this time we enter a transavantgarde world created by Holosiy, a Ukrainian painter. He was a main representative of the postmodern generation, the so-called New Ukrainian Wave, which emerged during the late Soviet period. Feels like a scene from a category B horror movie.

Or just playing in the field

Vincent van Gogh, Field with Two Rabbits, 1889, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; bunny paintings
Vincent van Gogh, Field with Two Rabbits, 1889, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

This scene is so tranquil and the colours so warm that looking at this work makes me feel happy. I feel I could play with these bunnies in the field this instant. Who would have thought that van Gogh painted other animals than birds?

Contemplating life

Hiroshige, Untitled (Two Rabbits, Pampas Grass, and Full Moon), 1849 - 1851; bunny paintings
Hiroshige, Untitled (Two Rabbits, Pampas Grass, and Full Moon), 1849 – 1851.

To finish off I’ve chosen this delightful print by Hiroshige. Isn’t it just beautiful? A little blue, a little green and pink, and we have a wonderful scene permeated with silence and an evening contemplation.


Happy Easter everyone, hope you’ll find some time to play with your favourite bunnies! Do you know other nice bunny paintings?

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

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