Friday 17 June 2011

Every Dog Has Its Day

The little baba is away in Portugal, so I have been a lonely soul, washed up on the shores of auntydom. I nearly posted a poem about being in love with his lit soul, but wasn't sure you could handle any more gooey shmaltz. So, instead, a post about dogs. I went to an art lecture today, tracing the incredibly diverse presence of dogs in art through the middle ages (depicted as healers of the plague, jousters, carved into marble tombs to accompany humans into afterlife), in heraldry, and on towards Reynolds, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Turner and Stubbs. Even Freud, Bacon and Warhol were flung in for good measure.

George Stubbs' White Poodle in a Punt (doesn't he look worried, poor little chap?) and Edwin Landseer's Dignity and Impudence melded beautifully with the more tortured Dawn After the Wreck by William Turner.

I listened to the speaker in awe, wishing I could be her! It must be wonderful to have an easy fluency with a certain subject, be historically accurate, and hold your audience captivated in the globe of your hand.
I learnt one interesting thing. I always thought dogs were associated with men, as faithful companions, but in fact, dogs are more usually portrayed with women, beside their tombs, to depict the fidelity and loyalty of women. Or in their arms, in family portraits, to assure the viewer of a stable and content home life. At weddings, they brought good fortune. My parents were married with Mum's dachshund Hansel, curled comfortably on their feet. Even when prodded, he would not budge. A sure sign of good things to come!
Landseer, Windsor Castle in Modern Times


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I would never get tired of hearing about the baby! But dogs are a favorite topic too. What an interesting talk this must have been. I like it that dogs are portrayed with women - my wolf-Pup was the best companion of my life. He really was. Such devotion, so attuned to my mood and thoughts. All I had to do was THINK: "Maybe I should take Pup for a walk" and he'd get excited and start barking.Dogs rock. I love this post!

Lydia said...

Such an interesting post, and I love the way you described the speaker holding her audience in the "globe" of her hand.

I have two large dogs: a chocolate Standard Poodle (who would appreciate the painting of the white poodle) and an Old English Sheepdog. They are their mommy's girls!

Ruth said...

I wouldn't have known that about dogs in art either, being more often with women. And the story of your parents' marriage is pretty wonderful.

I won't tire of hearing about the baby either, especially because we have recently been blessed with the tremendous news that our daughter is expecting in January. I am over the moon with joy. (Everything is expanding.)

brer rabbit said...

and that turner is one of our all time favourites here: a postcard of it in our kitchen for decades. the black dog looks like our ancient lurcher spider. also, we love david hockney's dogs... another great post!

Kenza said...

Hello hello sweet one! I have not been here for a while and I should come more often. I just read your recent posts one by one (love the camel one!). What kindness you transmit! Thank you!
(how did the tajine with apricots come out? Let me know if you think some changes are needed.. Oh and I am always so touched when you come and visit! Thank you!)

Marcoantonio Arellano (Nene) said...

Because I don't understand the significance of 'mortality' and now that it peers it's head at me around the corner, I hug my two minature poodles constantly hoping that loving them as much as i can every moment will assuage my angst.

Tess Kincaid said...

There isn't a day goes by without missing my dear yellow lab, Ralphy. Sigh. This post made me realize it all the more.

Shaista said...

All my comments here are from women - who love dogs, and to whom dogs were/are loyal - see, it's true!! Dogs are a Woman's Best Friend :)

I need a dog.

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