Dogs are everywhere. Whether you’re a pet parent or not, you see dogs in commercials, pups walking with their owners on the street, and even whole businesses dedicated to our furry friends. If you’re a dog lover, you know how important pooches are in our everyday lives.
But sometimes, we might catch ourselves asking if this has always been the case. Have our beloved pooches really been our best friends since the beginning of mankind? The answer is yes! And the proof is in the paintings of history.
While there are hundreds–maybe even thousands–of historical works of dog art, we narrowed down six of the most well-known pooch paintings to present to you. Here are six of the most famous dog paintings of all time.
1. Cave Canem By Unknown
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 with the inscription “Cave Canem” – “Beware of the dog”
Credit: Greg Willis / Commons pic.twitter.com/xdutPwMCzg
— Roman History Hit (@HistoryHitRome) April 16, 2019
If you’re familiar with the history of the region around Italy, you might have heard of the city of Pompeii.
The city that engulfed by the volcano, Mt Vesuvius, in 79 AD, 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.”
Though this might be interpreted as a warning sign of danger, researchers contested that the real intention was to bring attention that there were household dogs around.
2. Pride Of Parenthood By Norman Rockwell
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 back then for kids and families. One of those paintings was Pride Of Parenthood.
It depicts a boy playing with a dog and their pups. Norman often included dogs in his paintings and even had a mutt of his own named Pitter.
3. Dogs Playing Poker By Cassius Marcellus Coolidge
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) December 20, 2018
When it comes to paintings featuring dogs, this might be the most famous of them all.
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 the painting described, Dogs Playing Poker.
4. Portrait Of Maurice By Andy Warhol
If you’ve ever seen the famous painting of 32 Campbell’s soup cans, then you probably know who Andy Warhol is.
A painter and artist who led the foray into Pop art, which combined celebrity and advertising culture with artistic expression, Warhol’s creative artwork rose into prominence in the 1960s.
What few people knew, however, was how much of a dog lover Warhol was. 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.
5. Dog By Pablo Picasso
“Dog” is an abstract sketch by Pablo Picasso und depicts his dachshund “Lump”, which is considered the most important animal model in art history. Lump lived with Picasso for six years and featured in several of his works.#DailyDoseofArt #20thcentury#NationalPetDay pic.twitter.com/k5K2cqYsGO
— Lady Aviendha (@KunstundSterne) April 11, 2019
Whether or not you’re a fan of art and paintings, you almost certainly know who Pablo Picasso is. A world-famous painter whose works rest in some of the most prestigious art galleries in the world, Picasso was also known to love dogs.
He had many dogs throughout his life, but none he loved more than his Dachshund, Lumpy. The pup originally his photographer friend, David Duncan, when they came to live with him for six year in Cannes, France.
During that time, Picasso would hand feed Lumpy and include him in almost 45 different paintings throughout their time together. The one shown above is the very first painting Picasso created of Lumpy, which he entitled Dog.
6. Head Of A Dog By Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was another famous painter at the turn of the century. He was a Norwegian artist whose expressionist paintings depicted the emotional and mental anguish he suffered throughout his life. His most famous painting, The Scream, resides in Oslo, Norway
During Munch’s later years, he started to pull away from society, living in solitude with only his dogs to accompany him. He was even known to bring his dogs to the local cinema, and if they barked, he would interpret it as a sign that the film was bad, leaving the theater with them.
With such a strong love of his canine best friends, it’s no wonder he chose a pooch as the subject of this famous painting.
What do you think of these famous dog paintings throughout history? Do you have a favorite famous dog paintings that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!