- We started out in South America, and had some giant ancestors there. We got domesticated, and started showing up in ancient Peruvian art around 200 AD.
- Guinea pigs then started showing up in Europe in the 1500's, including in Conrad Gessner's Historiae Animalium in 1553, and painted portraits in 1580.
- Our next stop in guinea pig history comes shortly after this, when a European artist named Joris Hoefnagel first depicted guinea pigs in the Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) in 1592.
Joris Hoefnagel was a Netherlander who lived from 1542 to 1601. He was born to wealthy merchant parents, and traveled around Europe with them in his youth, drawing his experiences. While working in Munich, he was commissioned to produce a four-volume book on natural history. The book is known as the Four Elements, and each volume is named after a different element: Animalia rationalia et insecta (ignis); Animalia quadrupedia et reptilia (terra) ; Animalia aquatilia et conchiliata (aqua); and Animalia volatilia et amphibia (aier). Guinea pigs appeared in the earth (terra) volume (right next to porcupines):
|Don't let those porcupines poke you, guinea pig! [Caption reads: "Plate 48 of the Animalia Qvadrvpedia et Reptilia (Terra) from 1592 by Hoefnagel (copyright National Gallery of Art Washington)" (source)]|