Darwin's Menagerie – Whether you think stuffed animals are cool, beautiful, or downright disturbing, this is taxidermy like you've never seen it before.
Darwin's Menagerie – Ferry van Tongeren and Jaap Sinke are a pair of Dutch artists that use traditional taxidermy methods to produce flamboyant yet retro effects.
Darwin's menagerie – They take taxidermy to a new level, incorporating a variety of techniques and approaches that are normally found in fine art.
Darwin's Menagerie – Their work sells for between £2,000 ($3,130) and £25,000 ($39,200), and can be even more expensive for special commissions.
Darwin's menagerie – Although it draws upon traditional techniques and tropes, it subverts them, elevating the pieces to the level of true art.
Darwin's Menagerie – The pieces take on a statue-like quality, and are in many cases closer to sculpture than taxidermy.
Darwin's Menagerie – They have also created a number of photographs of the animals' skins while they were being washed in chemicals.
Darwin's Menagerie – When the skin is suspended, it almost seems to be re-animated. This, they say, can create a particularly eerie, lifelike effect.
Darwin's menagerie – Many of their pieces are birds, often with exceptionally bright plumage.
Darwin's Menagerie – The pair are attracted to exotic birds because of the vivid colors, which they view as an exquisite raw material.
Darwin's menagerie – Van Tongeren points out the colors that naturally occur in the animal kingdom hold a vividness that is difficult to achieve even with modern paints.
Darwin's menagerie – The Dutch duo has quickly gained a reputation for taxidermy of the finest quality, and they exhibit their work all over the world.
Darwin's Menagerie – Some of the works have an unmistakably sinister aspect to them, though this never eclipses the artistic value, creativity, or sense of slightly subversive fun.
Darwin's Menagerie – A pawky humor is evident in much of their work, offering a wry take on 17th Century zoological habits.
Darwin's menagerie – The duo has a "network" of breeders and zoos that contacts them when a rare bird dies, enabling them to gain material for their art.
Darwin's menagerie – The creations are remarkably lifelike by comparison to the many substandard examples of taxidermy that abound today.
Darwin's menagerie – However, there is always something slightly quirky or unusual about the poses, making the artworks intriguing.
Darwin's menagerie – The pair does not only work with birds. This lemur catta is a striking example of the breadth of their work, which preserves the beauty of animals in a stylized way.
Darwin's menagerie – Although many have an aversion to the display of dead animals, for van Tongeren and Sinke it's simply about the beauty of nature.
Darwin's menagerie – He argues that when animals die, it's a shame to waste their beautiful bodies when they could be transformed into exquisite pieces of art.
Darwin's menagerie – Moreover, the pair always make sure to treat the animals with respect, even if they do present them in eye-catching ways.
Darwin's menagerie – The reaction to the artists' work, which has been marketed for less than three years, has been hugely positive.
Darwin's menagerie – Many modern taxidermists rely on ready-made mannequins and other materials, which makes the process far quicker. However, the Dutch artists take the traditional, painstaking approach, because it delivers such superior results.
Darwin's menagerie – Their work explores the concepts of death and life, and beauty and ugliness.
Darwin's Menagerie – This wreath of snakes highlights the collision of lifelike taxidermy with a level of ironic contrivance that can be found only in death.