Dogs in Art

One of the ways we can trace back the variety of dog breeds to their inception is through art. Many famous paintings depict people with their favorite canines at their feet.

But before I go too far back in history- I want to reference a modern day artist who has captured the personality of the dog in a creative way. One particular internet site I found has a variety of lovely dog charms . When an artist can depict a dog in jewelry or other art I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that the personality of the dog can be captured in a way for the rest of us mortals to enjoy. I love artists!

But a fascinating way to view the history of the dog through art can be learned by picking up one of those heavy old fine art books with all the colored plates. There are some paintings of mixed breed dogs frolicking with their owner in outdoor scenes and sophisticated rich people posing with their Pekinese. Sometimes you have to kind of guess what breed these early artists meant to show.

One especially homey painting is by the Dutch artist Gabriel Metsu. He painted a family scene with a little red and white dog that looks remarkably like a Brittany spaniel. It’s clear from the mood of the painting that this little dog was a well- loved member of the family.

There is a lovely painting by Renoir of a dog head from 1870. The breed is reminiscent of a Papillon, but I could be wrong. It was certainly painted with tenderness.

Toulouse-Lautrec painted his dog seated calmly next to a chicken in his painting titled “The Artist’s Dog Fleche” The dog appears to be some type of hound.

Because there were no photographs back then, the artist’s conception of their environment is the only visual way to glimpse life from long ago. It’s interesting to find that portraits of favorite dogs were commissioned, but of course that was rare compared to today.

Modern artists capture the personality of dogs in a sensitive way as well. I found a painter on line who does lovely pet portraits . When the personality of the dog can be captured, so much the better. I think animal lovers are sensitive people anyway and it wouldn’t surprise me if quite a few of them were good artists as well.

What I like about this subject is the fact that animals, dogs in particular can be so inspirational. I could spend hours surfing the web, just admiring all the wonderful dog art there is out there. It makes me feel grateful to live in a society that cares so much about animals that there is time to be inspired by them.