A half-bear, half-bull creature with its insides visible and three crows on its back, stands near a baby on fissured ground. To the left is a man hanging from a tree, with many pylons seen in the distance. Inside the creature are words reading 'serious' and reasonable' in the stomach, 'objective' in the heart, 'common sense' in the spine', 'important' in the lungs, 'prudent' in the anus, 'wise' and 'rational' in the bowel, and 'logical' in the windpipe.
Grayson Perry (b. 1960), Animal Spirit, 2016, Etching with chine cola (pink), 63.5 x 77.3 cm, Edition of 35 © Grayson Perry and Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd.

Animal Spirit

Grayson Perry

Best known for his ceramics, Grayson Perry’s prints are noted for their caustic wit and visual inventiveness. Perry’s inspiration for this etching was the frequent use of the phrase ‘animal spirit’ to explain the 2008 financial crisis; he noted, ‘There seemed to be an idea that […] the market was entirely rational but we found out in the crash that it was just as prone to emotional weather as any human system.’ The fantastical beast that controls the markets (half-bear, half-bull, ‘most definitely a he’, in Perry’s words), its side cut away to reveal its tangled innards, is depicted like an illustration in a medieval manuscript. The pink paper on which it is printed may allude to the pink-tinted Financial Times.

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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