An elephant painted this

By | December 26, 2008

An elephant painted this, originally uploaded by xeno735.

Update: Okay, dogsounds, here is some proof: a different but very similar painting of an elephant by an elephant. I’m guessing by the same elephant.
More info:

The elephant was taught how to paint elephants, but I still find it amazing. Humans have to be taught how to paint humans, too.


CAMP: Maetaman Elephant Camp

ART TEACHER: Khun Tossapol Petcharattanakool

At eight years old, Hong maintains a very curious nature. She loves to investigate everything and once managed to use her trunk to open the door of a truck. This kind of curiosity made Hong a natural candidate for artistic instruction.

Two years ago, Hong began painting with her mahout, Noi Rakchang, and has steadily developed her skills. After learning how to paint flowers, she moved on to more advanced paintings. She now has two specialties. One is an elephant holding flowers with her trunk, and the other is the Thai flag. An elephant with so much control and dexterity is capable of amazing work. Just for clarification, with these realistic figural works, the elephant is still the only one making the marks on the paper but the paintings are learned series of brushstrokes not Hong painting a still life on her own.

We are sure that as Hong continues to investigate her artistic side, her paintings will become even more beautiful. – elephantart

Could non-human primates could be taught to paint their own likenesses?

Orangutan translates as “forest person” and this Primate is

the 2nd largest Ape – mature adults can weigh over 300lbs.

Orangutan - watercolour animal painting

The above is by a human, but seeing what an elephant can do, I wonder.

4 thoughts on “An elephant painted this

  1. dogsounds


    If that’s correct this would be a phenomenal breakthrough in the understanding on supposed “animal intelligence” and the elephant’s self awareness, not to mention consciousness, a sense of aesthetic, symbolism and emotion…what’s the source, Xeno? Where can I read more about this?

  2. Ann

    Dogsounds: the quote below is from the address below the quote. (Animals don’t necessarily perceive the world as humans do. That, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t “intelligent” with a certain species-specific understanding of the world around them. Depending on the species, they have a “language,” with regional dialects, a variety of “emotions.” etc. About a sense of the aesthetic and symbolism, unless you’re owner, or better, master of a pet you wouldn’t know.)

    “Just for clarification, with these realistic figural works [that the elephant paints], the elephant is still the only one making the marks on the paper but the paintings are learned series of brushstrokes not Hong [the elephant] painting a still life on her own.”

  3. dogsounds

    I think, regardless of whether the painting is a learned pattern or not, you still have to consider the fact that Hong can be taught to paint a certain patter truly amazing. I mean, how exactly would you teach her that? Makes you wonder!

    BTW I probably sounded a bit “I demand you prove this!” in my original comment, but that was not what I inteneded, I was more “ZOMG that’s amazing, where can I learn more?” 🙂

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