Dogs are found in various media either to tell a story, recognize an achievement or simply brighten our day. Over the next couple of weeks I’d like to take you to the world of art and highlight some of the more famous pieces.
Dogs were often used for protecting homes in Roman times and some Roman villas even had dog warning mosaics in their hallways. One such sign has been beautifully preserved in Pompeii. The city was engulfed by the volcano, Mt Vesuvius, in 79 A.D., and the ruins are a popular tourist attraction today. One of the city’s remnants that you might come across is The House of The Tragic Poet. In that house, you’ll find a mosaic of a dog with an inscription at the bottom, “Cave Canem,” which loosely translated means “Beware of the dog.”
Norman Rockwell is a famous painter and illustrator from New York whose paintings of American culture in the early 1900s are still popular today.
Most of Rockwell’s paintings depicted what American life was like back then for kids and families. One of his paintings was Pride of Parenthood.
It depicts a boy playing with his dog and her pups. Rockwell often included dogs in his paintings and even had a mutt of his own named Pitter.
In 1903, a then-prominent publishing company, Brown & Bigelow, commissioned a series of paintings to help advertise cigars. This series of sixteen paintings depicted anthropomorphized dogs doing human things like reading the mail and playing baseball. But the most famous of them all was exactly what the title of this painting described, dogs playing poker.
Many of you recognize the name Andy Warhol as the artist who led the foray into Pop art in the 1960’s. But maybe not so many know that Warhol was a huge dog lover. In 1973, he adopted Archie, a beautiful Dachshund, and the two quickly became inseparable. Warhol took the pup virtually everywhere, in fact, even refusing a trip to London unless Archie was allowed to come with him. In 1976, he created Portrait of Maurice for a friend of his and fellow Dachshund lover, Gabrielle Keiller. The painting is a depiction of her dog, unsurprisingly named Maurice.
Next week we’ll continue our stroll through the world of art and how other dogs have been depicted.