Rhino in Pajamas!

My pencil drawing of this rhinoceros is based on a pen and ink drawing by Albrecht Dürer.

Dürer never saw a real rhinoceros. His drawing was based on only a rough sketch and a written description. Dürer obviously employed his artistic license to create this quite unusual looking animal. This drawing was widely accepted as a realistic representation of a rhinoceros right up until the 18th century.


In 1515, Manuel I, King of Portugal, sent a live rhinoceros (on which Dürer’s drawing was based) to Pope Leo X as a gift. Unfortunately, the rhinoceros never arrived at its destination; it drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516.

In 1956, Salvador Dali created a three-ton, bronze cast sculpture of a rhinoceros based on Dürer’s drawing. Dali stayed true to Dürer’s representation of a rhinoceros, but couldn’t resist adding two humongous sea urchins as a satirical reference to the actual animal’s demise in a watery grave. Today this sculpture, titled Rhinoceros Dressed In Lace (Rinoceronte vestido con puntillas) resides in Puerto Banús in Marbella, Spain.

Here’s an image of Dürer’s original drawing.


About Brenda Hoddinott
Award-winning artist and author; illustrator, art educator, curriculum designer, co-owner of Drawspace.com, owner of Drawspace Publishing, and retired forensic artist Brenda has developed art curricula and taught multidisciplinary arts since 1980. During her 25-year career as a forensic artist, Brenda worked with diverse criminal investigative agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Department of National Defense, private investigative agencies, and municipal police departments. Brenda and her partner John live in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia with their two SPCA rescue dogs: Timber the Huskador and Katie the Pitweiler. Their blended human family includes five adult children and two grandchildren. Books by Brenda Hoddinott include: 2012: Introduction to Contour Lines (Drawspace Publishing) 2012: Introduction to Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2011: Illustrated Dictionary of Art-Related Terms (Drawspace Publishing) 2010: Getting Started with Drawing (Drawspace Publishing) 2004: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing People Illustrated (Alpha Books) 2003: Drawing for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.)

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