17 Medieval Paintings of Animals That Are Hilariously Inaccurate

Medieval paintings of animals

Have you ever tried to describe something you’ve never seen before? Imagine trying to paint it. That’s pretty much what medieval painters did when it came to exotic animals. Growing up, I thought I had a wild imagination, but these medieval paintings of animals take the cake. Just like that time I tried to draw a horse and it ended up looking like a mutant donkey, these artists were winging it based on second-hand descriptions, and the results are gloriously off the mark.

The medieval era wasn't exactly brimming with Nat Geo documentaries or wildlife safaris, so artists had to rely on wild descriptions and their creativity. The medieval paintings of animals in this collection are a testament to that era’s speculative artistry. These old masters were tasked with illustrating creatures they’d never seen, leading to hilariously misguided interpretations. As you scroll through these paintings, you’ll encounter lions that look like they’re having a bad hair day and elephants that might as well be mythical beasts. These artistic blunders remind us how much we've progressed in animal illustration and highlight the sheer inventiveness required back then.


You’ve just embarked on a whimsical journey through time, witnessing how medieval artists grappled with depicting exotic animals. These 17 medieval paintings of animals have given you a good laugh with their wild inaccuracies and imaginative depictions. From lions that resemble oversized cats to elephants that look like something out of a fantasy novel, you’ve seen how art history can be both enlightening and entertaining.

If you enjoyed this dive into the quirky world of medieval animal art, why not explore more of our themed meme galleries? Check out our collections on historical fails, art memes, and hilarious ancient artifacts. Dive deeper into the amusing corners of history and see how creativity and imagination have shaped our understanding of the past. Thunder Dungeon is your go-to for more laughs and intriguing content around the oddities of historical representation and beyond.


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