Mythological Animals, Religious Symbols, and Political Signs

Adam and Eve were tempted by a devious serpent and had to leave paradise. The Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, is an early Christian symbol for Jesus Christ, who offered himself as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Owls are associated with wisdom, and doves are symbols of peace. The heraldic animal of the United States, the bald eagle, represents grace, strength, and freedom, and already in classical antiquity, eagles were used on seals and battle standards. The list of symbolical animals is long; the attributions have evolved over time, and often, we are no longer familiar with their original context. Many artists examine these handed-down and traditionally charged symbols and allegories critically or ironically to assess their current validity.