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Puppies, Doggies and Pugs in Art (for Dog Lovers Only!)

Édouard Manet, King Charles Spaniel, c. 1866 National Art Gallery, Washington D.C. Detail.

Animals

Puppies, Doggies and Pugs in Art (for Dog Lovers Only!)

Dogs are man’s best friends. And if a man happens to be a painter or a sitter for a painting, they must be included too. In the end, they are our most dedicated companions and that’s why we celebrate them today on the Pet Day. Meet a few of the dogs immortalized by art:

1. William Hogarth and his pug

William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug, 1745, Tate Gallery, London Doggies and Pugs in Art
William Hogarth, The Painter and his Pug, 1745, Tate Gallery, London.

Hogarth was truly attached to his pug.

2. Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife,1434, National Gallery, London
Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife,1434, National Gallery, London.

Dogs in the symbolic language of the Netherlandish paintings represented fidelity.

3. Edouard Manet’s Spaniel

Doggies and Pugs in Art
Édouard Manet, King Charles Spaniel, c. 1866 National Art Gallery, Washington D.C.

This is just so cute.

4. Peter Paul Rubens, Hercules’ Dog Discovers Purple Dye

Peter Paul Rubens, Hercules' Dog Discovers Purple Dye, c.1636
Peter Paul Rubens, Hercules’ Dog Discovers Purple Dye, c.1636 Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

Hercules’ dog largely contributed to art history as it had discovered purple dye. According to the legend, while running on the beach the dog bit a sea snail and dyed his mouth purple. Clever boy.

5. Thomas Gainsborough, Cottage Girl with Dog and Pitcher

Thomas Gainsborough, Cottage Girl with Dog and Pitcher,
Thomas Gainsborough, Cottage Girl with Dog and Pitcher National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

This is just too cute and too sad at the same time.

6. Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog. Doggies and Pugs in Art
Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog. Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada.

It turns out that lap dogs are not a modern invention at all.

7. Anthony van Dyck, The five eldest Children of Charles I of England with two dogs

Anthony van Dyck, The five eldest Children of Charles I of England with two dogs, 1637 ; Doggies and Pugs in Art
Anthony van Dyck, The five eldest Children of Charles I of England with two dogs, 1637 Royal Collection Trust

Royal families or not, they all love dogs. Even huge ones!

8. Gustave Courbet, Self-portrait with a black dog

Gustave Courbet, Self-portrait with a black dog, 1841 ; Doggies and Pugs in Art
Gustave Courbet, Self-portrait with a black dog, 1841 Petit Palais, Paris, France.

Even the biggest hipster of art history, Gustave Courbet, loved dogs. In the end, who wouldn’t?

Did you enjoy all the puppies, doggies and pugs in art? You HAVE TO read these:


Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

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