Anna Reading, David Harrison, Enzo Marra, Grant Watson, Marcus Harvey, Matthew Collings, Richard Deacon, Shani Rhys James, Susie Hamilton, Vanessa Mitter, Zebedee Jones
Lump, the little dachshund and apparent boss of Picasso’s studio, made frequent appearances in his paintings and drawings, most notably in his recreations of Las Meninas. Then there’s Rolle, a dog who belonged to a neighbour of Munch’s and sounded like a complete nightmare, vicious and dangerous. Munch not only painted him, but also repeatedly reported him to the police. Manet and Minnay, Warhol and Archie, Freud and Pluto, Hockney and Stanley are just a few of the artists and the dogs they have painted.
In almost every culture, dogs have been drawn, painted and sculpted since the dawn of history, often symbolising companionship, loyalty, fidelity, protection, devotion and love. Whether it is the Great Dane, the Rottweiler, the King Charles Spaniel, the Pug, the Poodle, the Labrador or the Chihuahua tucked into a handbag, dogs have become a symbol of who we are and how we behave.
Dogs do not only evoke positive experiences. The idiomatic expression ‘life’s a bitch’ means that life can be tough, unpleasant and unrewarding. The slang phrase ‘dog days’ denotes a period of inactivity or stagnation, and ‘black dog’ is a metaphorical representation of depression and melancholy. In English folklore, the black dog is a supernatural, demonic entity, generally regarded as a malevolent presence. Dogs are double-edged.
- Enzo Marra, January 2023