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Every Dog Has Its Day…

dog
Sir Edwin Landseer, A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society, 1838, Tate Collection

Animals

Every Dog Has Its Day…

No one will ever be as happy to see you coming back home as your dog. As they are always with us they do deserve their place in art. And they certainly have it, not only as companions in their owner’s portraits but also on their own. As you can see below dogs in art come in all shapes and sizes, but are always our best friends… almost always.

1. Cave Canem, Pompei

Cave Canem mosaic, House of the Tragic Poet, Pompei, 2nd century - Beware of the Dog

Cave Canem mosaic, House of the Tragic Poet, Pompei, 2nd century

Not a portrait exactly, but an early example of ‘beware of the dog’ plaque, on a slightly larger scale too. Some things last for a long time (the plaques), some thankfully go away (the chain).

2. Agostino Carracci, Study Of A Spaniel’s Head

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Agostino Carracci, Study of a Spaniel’s Head, ca 1598, Kupferstichkabinett, National Museums in Berlin

Hmmm… this one looks to me a bit more like a lion, not a spaniel, but the look in its eyes cannot be mistaken… someone is eating something and not sharing!

3. Gerrit Dou’s Sleeping Dog

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Gerrit Dou, Sleeping Dog, 1650, Rose-Marie van Eijk van Otterloo Colection

Is it really sleeping or just pretending so it doesn’t have to do much?

4. Giuseppe Castiglione, Tawny Yellow Leopard

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Giuseppe Castiglione, Tawny Yellow Leopard, 1747, National Palace Museum Taipei

By no means is this a leopard, actually, Castiglione has been commissioned by the emperor Qianlong to paint a series of Ten Fine Hounds so it definitely is a dog.

5. George Stubbs, White Poodle in a Punt

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George Stubbs, White Poodle in a Punt, ca 1780, National Gallery of Art Washington

It does not seem very happy, does it? Poodles were water retrievers, so it should feel comfortable in proximity of water, maybe it’s the missing duck…

6. Francisco Goya, The Dog

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Francisco Goya, The Dog, ca 1819 1823, Museo del Prado

So dramatic and sad, probably one of the most moving depictions of a dog in art.

7. Édouard Manet, A King Charles Spaniel

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Édouard Manet, A King Charles Spaniel, ca. 1866, National Gallery of Art

I know you have my snacks! I’ll get you as soon as we’re done here! A truly noble one, art before snacks.

8. Paul Gauguin, Still Life with Three Puppies

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Paul Gauguin, Still Life with Three Puppies, 1888, Museum of Modern Art

It is difficult to resist the charm of a puppy, with three no one stands a chance.

9. Last but not least – A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society

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Sir Edwin Landseer, A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society, 1838, Tate Collection

More distinguished and dignified than many people. Bob was made a distinguished member of the Royal Humane Society for saving 23 people from drowning over the course of 14 years.

If you haven’t had a dog overdose yet check those out:

Jeff Koons And His Balloon Dogs

Behind The Yellow Eyes Of The Blue Dog By George Rodrigue

It’s A Dog’s Life According To Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

Puppies, Doggies And Pugs (For Dog Lovers Only!)

  

Art historian by education, data geek by trade, art and book lover by passion, based in London in love with Europe and travelling around it. You can visit my book blog here: https://bookskeptic.com/

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