This year National Pet Month is running from 01 April – 04 May, and in honour of this occasion we’re sharing a collection of some of our favourite paintings of canine companions. (Don’t worry cat lovers, there’ll be a post for you too!)
People have been depicting domestic dogs for thousands of years, with the oldest images even dating back to the era of cave paintings! Over time, the representation of dogs has become more detailed and elaborate, as the bond between person and pooch strengthened and a larger range of individual breeds evolved.
Throughout history, dogs have consistently been an important symbol in art. They are often used as a visual motif in Western art, and when used in an allegorical painting, they are said to portray the attribute of fidelity personified. Dogs were the most favoured of the animal species in Renaissance and Baroque works, and as such they were very accurately represented in paintings during this time. Francesco Bonsignori is believed to have painted a dog so life-like that one of his own dogs attacked the painting!
Here are 10 reasons to give a round of a-paws for marvellous mutts:
1. They’re always leading us on new adventures.
2. They’re great to snuggle with.
According to cdc.gov, 14 – 62% of pets across the globe are allowed to share the bed with their owners. They’re very cosy bed buddies!
3. They make a house feel more homely.
Note: the cats aren’t helping to decorate the tree. Take from that what you will.
4. They’re adorable. Especially as puppies!
5. They feel the same way as us on a whole range of things, from having fun outdoors…
…to hating work.
6. We feel totally comfortable around them.
7. They’re fashion forward.
Even in modern day portraits, dogs are a natural artistic component. They often function as a fashion accessory or as a suggestion of the sitter’s interests and tastes.
8. They can hold their own.
Dogs started to take on an independent existence in art from as early as the latter half of the 15th century. There was a high demand for individual portraits of canines due to their reputation as objects of prestige and favour among the European ruling families, particularly in Italy. It was not until the 18th century, however, that dog portraiture became a widespread practice.
9. You can always count on them to be a true friend.
Although dogs are commonly known as “man’s best friend”, they are more specifically considered the “artist’s best friend” too, for their role as both a companion and a life model. Famous artists who loved their hounds include David Hockney, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, René Magritte, William Wegman and Pablo Picasso. Picasso died just ten days after his beloved dachshund ‘Lump’ passed away.
10. And they get up to more than we can possibly imagine…
What are your favourite dog paintings? Have a look through Bridgeman’s images and share them with us in the comments section below!