Pets are a great way to beat the blues, offering unconditional love and companionship.

No furry-legged friend? Well, your next best bet is a specially curated gallery of adorable pups, cute cubs and curious kittens from the whole spectrum of art history and beyond, sure to warm the cockles of even the hardest heart.

See a few of my favourites below; from the mythical animals on medieval manuscripts to the paintings and sketches by celebrated animal artists George Stubbs and Cecil Aldin. Also included is photography from the Zoological Society of London and images by contemporary artists such as Mark Adlington, who has made paintings of wildlife his speciality.

N.B: All images have been selected for their ‘awww’ factor so some notable art historical paintings of animals may not have made the cut.

Do you have a favourite animal picture from art history? Please let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @bridgemanimages

 

 Caring for the Hounds, from the 'Livre de la Chasse' by Gaston Phebus de Foix (1331-91) (vellum) French School, (15th century) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France / Bridgeman Images

Caring for the Hounds, from the ‘Livre de la Chasse’ by Gaston Phebus de Foix (1331-91) (vellum)
French School, (15th century) / Musee Conde, Chantilly, France / Bridgeman Images

Miss Ann White's Kitten, 1790 by George Stubbs, Roy Miles Fine Paintings

Miss Ann White’s Kitten, 1790 by George Stubbs, Roy Miles Fine Paintings

Sealyham, 1930, Illustrations from his Sketch Book used for 'Just Among Friends' by Cecil Aldin (1870-1935) / Bridgeman Images

Sealyham, 1930, Illustrations from his Sketch Book used for ‘Just Among Friends’ by Cecil Aldin (1870-1935)

Red Panda, 1913 (b/w photo) by Frederick William Bond (1887-1942) / Zoological Society of London / Bridgeman Images

Red Panda, 1913 (b/w photo) by Frederick William Bond (1887-1942) / Zoological Society of London

Young emperor penguin Snow Hill Island, Antarctica Photo © Sue Flood

Young emperor penguin Snow Hill Island, Antarctica Photo © Sue Flood

Rabbit (colour woodblock print), Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) / Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, USA / Robert O. Muller Collection

Rabbit (colour woodblock print), Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942) / Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, USA / Robert O. Muller Collection

Tiger cub meets bear cub, 1914 (b/w photo), Bond, Frederick William (1887-1942) / Zoological Society of London

Tiger cub meets bear cub, 1914 (b/w photo), Bond, Frederick William (1887-1942) / Zoological Society of London

Big Ears the Chihuahua, 2012 (pen, ink on paper), Chambers, Jo / Private Collection

Big Ears the Chihuahua, 2012 (pen, ink on paper), Chambers, Jo / Private Collection

The Unbearable Lightness of Ben, 2016, (oil on canvas), Watson, Gavin

The Unbearable Lightness of Ben, 2016, (oil on canvas), Watson, Gavin

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