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Renaissance Art


In the interior of the Villa Barbaro at Maser, where Veronese executed a rich and iconographically complex decorative fresco program about 1561, one of the rooms is traditionally called the Stanza del Cane, after a beautifully rendered little dog occupying a ledge high above the visitor. Veronese’s dogs are painted with such loving attention that they must reflect his own feeling toward animals—a feeling that perhaps is mirrored in the motif of Diana nuzzling one of her Greyhounds in the clouds of the Sala di Olimpo. The abundance and variety of dogs in Veronese’s art make it difficult to attribute specific symbolism to them—they are too numerous and appear in too many diverse settings. Veronese is said to have produced formal “portraits” of individual dogs, including his own, but his only extant painting in which dogs vie with the human figure for prominence is Cupid with Two Dogs (c. 1580–83; Alte Pinakothek, Munich). This painting shows a winged Cupid wearing a golden quiver and holding two black-and-white hunting dogs on a chain, a composition that has been interpreted variously as an allegory of the contrariness of love, faithfulness in love, and the restraint of the animal appetite for love.

This essay is adapted from "An Artist's Best Friend: The Dog in Renaissance and Baroque Painting and Sculpture," by Edgar Peters Bowron in Best in Show: The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to Today (Yale University Press in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Bruce Museum of Art and Science); used with permission. 



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 36: May/Jun 2006
Edgar Peters Bowron is Audrey Jones Beck Curator of European Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Fig. 1: Piero di Cosimo, A Satyr Mourning over a Nymph, c. 1462, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 2: Pisanello, The Vision of Saint Eustace, c. 1455, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 3: Jacopo Bassano, The Good Samaritan, c. 1557, The National Gallery, London
Fig. 4: Jan van Eyck Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife, 1434, The National Gallery, London

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Submitted by André Durand | October 26 2009 |

Please check out a set, Rinaldo's ancestors in art, posted on Flickr


Rinaldo, my whippet, reminds me of hounds I have seen in works of art as far back as 340 BC. The Stela of Ilissos, in the National Museum, Athens is the first time I saw him, mourning the demise of his master.

With the participation of the Czech art historian, Marie Pardyova's and her extensive knowledge of Greek, Roman and early Christian art we have discovered and photographed sight hounds in mosaics, vase paintings as well as sculpture, that remind us of Rinaldo, including some versions of him in my own paintings. I have taken the photographs of Rinaldo over the last decade, mostly in Sussex and Kensington Gardens.

Yours sincerely

André Durand


Photographs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideafineart/

Submitted by Anonymous | April 28 2011 |

Thank you very much for this article

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