A seventeenth-century dry preparation of a porbeagle which was combined with a wooden sculpture of the prophet Jonah is analyzed using pictorial theories that emphasize the paradox of preparations being both subject and material of a visual representation. It explains the combination of Jonah and the shark by referring to speculations of early-modern natural history that the large fish that devoured Jonah must have been a shark. The preparation’s characteristic posture appears to be an adaptation of the depiction of a great white shark in Konrad Gessner’s Historia Animalium (1558), which had itself been drawn after a deformed dry preparation. The preparation of the porbeagle – probably made in an ecclesiastical context – thus represents less itself than a large shark.
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