Saturday, May 17, 2014

Painting of the Day: “Comical Dogs” by Edwin Landseer, 1836

Comical Dogs
Sir Edwin Landseer, 1836
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Known for his depictions of animals, especially dogs, Sir Edwin Landseer was Queen Victoria’s first choice to paint official portraits of her many beloved pets. Landseer also enjoyed painting dogs in allegorical and even humorous circumstances. Take this painting entitled “Comical Dogs” for example. Painted in oil on a wooden panel, the painting shows a scene of two dogs, one wearing a white bonnet who appears to be smoking a pipe as he sits back on his hind legs with both front paws extended, while the other dog wears a woman’s Scottish tam on his head. The wire-haired terrier in the Scottish bonnet has in his possession a ram's horn snuff container.

Terriers were a favorite subject of Landseer’s. One critic observed that Landseer, “gives them all the intelligence of the canine nature but never plays with the falsehood of a fanciful or humanised expression.”

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