Note: This blog post is an entirely Bridgeman-Education-Image-Free Zone!
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) were similar in that they both lived during the Renaissance and both drew animals. However the drawings they produced were very largely due to the reasons for the drawings being different.
Da Vinci wanted to know, wanted to understand, about everything, particularly the natural world and animals. He studied their anatomy and their movements, and made many studies of them to help him with that understanding.
In 1482, Leonardo accepted the project from Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro, who wanted it to be the largest equestrian statue in the world, dedicated to his father Francesco. He spent many years making studies for the statue, which for various never was made. These are studies, as the redrawn lines show, not finished pieces.
Albrecht Durer’s drawings on the other hand are finished pieces. Anyone who is prepared to paint a selfportrait looking like Christ wants a finished product that will impress.
One of Durer’s most famous animal works was produced without him actually seeing the beast. This explains why the rhinoceros has an extra horn on its back and skin that looks like plate armour. Nevertheless, the image was so powerful that it was accepted as an accurate depiction for hundreds of years.
Even when Durer drew studies, they were far more finished than those of da Vinci, probably as they were studies for other drawings or paintings, and not studies of the animals themselves.