What is anthropomorphism? Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to animals or non-living things. ~Wikipedia
One of my all time favorite, and by far the most well known artist who gave charming human qualities to her animal creations, was Beatrix Potter. Who doesn't know and love Peter Rabbit? Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, mycologist (the study of Fungi) and conservationist. Beatrix wrote and illustrated 23 small format children's books. Her life's story, charming and fascinating, includes a childhood filled with unusual animal pets such as bunnies, ducks, a newt (a kind of wetland lizard) and even a pet bat! One of the many reasons I admire Miss. Potter is that in addition to being a great lover of animals, an artist and conservationist, she was also a woman way ahead of her time. For example, although her first book was rejected by six publishers, she went on to (very successfully) self publish. The tremendous success of her self published book (and 22 subsequent books) led to her achieving substantial independent income from their sales. She became a wealthy single woman from money she earned as a writer and illustrator, very rare for her time. I still relish the illustrations and stories by Beatrix Potter! Read more about this great lady here on Wikipedia or rent the movie, "Miss Potter" .
Why is giving human characteristics to animals in art so endearing? For many of us, our pets are like family. When a beloved dog looks up with his big brown eyes full of trust, it likely fills us with a deep sense of happiness. I believe we are all much closer to the animal world then we realize and yet being removed just enough that most of us can't communicate easily with the critters. In our imaginations, (especially in our most magical childlike imaginations) we give our animal friends human qualities so we can chat and interact with them as we do each other. I think animals are more aware of what we humans are thinking and feeling than we realize!
Enjoy my collection of anthropomorphised critters