Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Critical and Curatorial Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Reitz, Chris

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Stanev, Hristomir

Committee Member

Stanev, Hristomir

Committee Member

Singel, Rachel

Author's Keywords

leonora carrington; surrealism; women artists; bestiary; mythology; other


Similar to the painted creatures that dwell within the illuminated manuscripts of ancient and medieval bestiaries, the beasts in Leonora Carrington’s early work are used metaphorically. She was deeply influenced in her formative years by mythology and animals; tales with heraldic characters, obscure adventures, and symbolic meanings were foundational to her works. World War II and a subsequent internment in a sanitorium initiated Carrington to wrestle with an existential crisis. Her capacity and appetite for sources of inspiration and knowledge was boundless; infinite symbolic references were readily available for her artistic executions. The metaphors adapted or created by Carrington enabled her to resolve her personal crises and come to an understanding the world that confounded her. By analyzing the animals and fantastical creatures in Carrington’s early work through the encyclopedic schema of the bestiary, the interconnected discourses and symbols can be singularly examined and consequently the artist’s psyche can be better understood.