The origins of werewolves are highly debated because of their prominence in nearly all early cultural folklore. Among Greeks, the first werewolf was the doomed King Lycaon who dared to knowingly feed Zeus one of his sons for a meal. As a result, Zeus cursed Lycaon to spend eternity as a wolf, unable to return to his people unless he abstained from meat for 10 years. Other stories of werewolf origins come from England, France, Portugal, and even Native American legends and are also ancient. However, the earliest known artistic representation of these anthropomorphic beings was a woodcut created by German artist Lucas Cranach during the Renaissance which depicted an wild, animal-like man on all fours as he carried away an infant in his mouth.
Themes are often repeated in werewolf art, most of which address the potential of man for savagery. They also address the barely restrained animal instinct that all humans have inside of them and the interactions of conflict and symbiosis that occur between man and beast. Vintage enthusiasts will find many excellent examples within this category of art. Since werewolves have been a prominent subject in monster and horror films for nearly as long as films have been on the silver screen, there are many pop art and retro artworks available for collectors.
Modern art enthusiasts also have a selection to choose from within this art form with the resurgence of popularity concerning werewolves in the media. These artists depict several kinds of wolf-man subjects and themes.