I believe that you, like most of us, have friends and family members who are animal lovers. When you want to give your animal lover friends gifts, you always try to find something creative and related to animals in some way or another.
But you’ve run out of ideas! If that is the case, I want to share with you what I’ve found to be a solution. I’ve realized that there are very few animal lovers who don’t also love dogs.
And being an art lover, animal lover, and dog lover myself, I started to give my animal lover friends and family members dog paintings as gifts. There are many famous dog paintings – and famous dogs in paintings – to choose from, and good reproductions of such paintings are usually affordable.
In this article, I’ll briefly discuss the history of dog paintings and share a few interesting facts about dogs in paintings. Then I’ll introduce you to some famous dog paintings you can choose from to use as gifts.
Brief History of Famous Art with Dogs
Illustrations of dogs were discovered on the walls of Bronze Age tombs and on ceramics of that time. And a 9,000 years old prehistoric painting depicting a man with a dog on a leash was found at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in India.
But also in Western culture, dogs have been present in artworks for centuries, and many famous painters’ dog paintings can be found in art museums and art collections. Although the symbolic meaning and value of dogs in paintings have changed over the centuries, dogs are, generally speaking, mainly the symbol of loyalty.
But they are also symbols of guidance, protection, companionship, and faithfulness. For example, in the 19th century, it was the custom to create portraits of lap dogs to symbolize companionship, and up to today, dogs have appeared in many paintings.
When you give a reproduction of one of the famous dog paintings to an animal lover, the receiver of the gift will appreciate that you acknowledge their love for animals and simultaneously give a gift for life. This painting will always be in the person’s home on a wall.
More Interesting Facts about Dogs in Paintings
Before I introduce you to some famous dog paintings, I want to share with you interesting facts about dogs in paintings. This might entice you further to consider famous dog painting gifts for your animal lover friends!
In Jan van Eyck’s “Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife”, which was created in 1434, there is a clear indication that dogs represent love, devotion, and fidelity in a painting. The painting depicts a little Griffon terrier between the couple’s feet. The dog emphasizes the love between Giovanni and his wife. If you want to give an animal-loving couple a painting gift on their anniversary, a reproduction of this painting could be a good choice.
In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, dogs were also a sign of high social status. It was a time when noble families wanted to display their wealth by erecting great villas and hunting on large estates. It was also the trend among noble families to breed dogs.
As a result, Italian aristocrats often included dogs in their portraits. A good example is Mantegna’s “Camera Picta” (1465–1474), where the Marquis of Mantua’s favorite dog, Rubino, is seen sitting under his chair. Perhaps you have an animal lover friend with a dog frequently seen under his owner’s chair, and then a reproduction of this painting might be just the right gift.
“A Jack in Office” Painted by Edwin Henry Landseer
One of the most famous dog paintings, “A Jack in Office”, was painted by Edwin Henry Landseer in 1833. The painting has a humorous and political connotation. I’m sure you have an animal lover friend or family member who will appreciate receiving a reproduction of this painting as a gift.
The painting’s title, “A Jack in Office”, refers to slang terminology for an ineffective “fat” Government official. In this painting, a fat and decorated Jack Russel Terrier sits on a table while all the other dogs around him are starved and stressed.
This famous art with dogs emphasizes the difference between the “fat one” who has too much and the “thin” dogs who have too little. The artist’s idea behind this painting was to make people aware of the dangers of having a “Jack in the Office”.
“Head of a Dog” by Edvard Munch
If you have an animal lover friend who has experienced recent grief, a reproduction of “Head of a dog” could be a painting to consider as a gift. Edvard Munch created this artwork in 1930 after his mother and sister died. He experienced that painting his dogs helped him with his grief.
The painting, “Head of a Dog”, depicts a cartoonish but stern-looking dog. Painting a dog’s head was part of his therapy after his great loss. The painting illustrates that “man’s best friend” can help to overcome your sorrows.
It is the head of one of Munch’s dogs, but its name and breed are unknown.
“The Dog” by Francisco Goya
For your friend who is an animal lover but also an exceptional art lover, Goya’s “The Dog” could be a good gift. It is a great artwork, painted by Goya somewhere between 1819 and 1823 as part of his so-called black period paintings. It is believed by most art historians that, just like Munch’s “Head of a Dog”, this painting was created as “therapy” for all Goya’s ailments and other psychological problems.
Only reproduced copies of this work are available because the image of the dog was painted directly on the walls in Goya’s home. As mentioned above, this painting is more for your art-lover-animal-lover friend and not for someone who doesn’t appreciate Goya’s art. Nevertheless, for the right person a good gift.
“Diogenes” by Jean-Leon Gerome
This artist created art with dogs in paintings. In this painting, Jean-Leon Gerome depicted the Greek philosopher, Diogenes, sitting in his home in a large earthenware tub. This painting will be the ideal gift for your animal lover friend, who is also Greek mythology and legend fundi.
The legend is that Diogenes had to use a lit lamp to help him find an honest man. In this painting, he is surrounded by a group of happy and healthy-looking dogs while lighting a lamp. The dogs are very interested in what Diogenes is doing.
According to art scholars, the dogs symbolize Diogenes’ philosophy which focuses on living a simple and uncomplicated life.
“Pride of Parenthood” by Norman Rockwell
The last painting I want to introduce as a possible gift for an animal lover is “Pride of Parenthood” by Norman Rockwell. This is one of the prettiest dog paintings ever created. A boy and a dog caring for the dog’s litter of puppies are depicted, and the artist, known for his ability to tell a story with every painting, tells the viewer the story of this boy and dog.
The dog looks at the boy with joy and pride in her facial expression, and the boy has a shy but proud look while feeding the puppies. This symbolizes nostalgia and idealism. This is a famous dog painting you can give to any animal lover as a gift.
We hope you are now enticed to contact online galleries to learn about famous art with dogs and buy your first dog painting to use as a gift for a particular animal lover, friend, or family member.