Portraits of Dogs at the Wallace Collection: Director’s IntroductionTuesday 14th March 6.00PM GMT
This spring sees the opening of a joyous exhibition at the Wallace Collection, dedicated to representations of our canine friends in art. Entitled Faithful and Fearless: Portraits of Dogs, it includes drawings, paintings, sculptures and objets d’art from the past 250 years, showcasing major loans from collections such as The British Museum, Tate Modern and The Royal Collection, as well as prominent private collections in the UK.
We are delighted to welcome The Wallace Collection’s director Dr Xavier Bray who will present a special introduction to the exhibition, in advance of its opening on 29th March.
Dogs often appear in paintings for allegorical purposes, symbolising protection, devotion and fidelity. The tongue-in-cheek inclusion of a yapping white spaniel in Fragonard’s masterpiece, The Swing, a charmingly risqué painting of a young man admiring his mistress, adds to its light-hearted appeal. With the rise in popularity of portraiture, patrons started to commission not only records of themselves and their families, but also their four-legged friends. Artists would devote great attention to capturing every expressive whisker, wet nose and cocked ear, immortalising beloved canines in eloquent and charming portraits whose popularity endures today. Landseer’s Dash and George Stubbs’ Turk are fine examples. Some artists including Gainsborough, Hockney and Hogarth immortalised their own animals in art – Parmigianino made a proud self-portrait holding his dog, just before she gave birth to a large litter of puppies.
The exhibition also explores more generally the role of dogs in history, from gundogs and working dogs to lapdogs and royal dogs, as well as the enduring relationship between humans and their canine friends, with a plethora of examples by artists from Leonardo da Vinci to Lucian Freud.
This will definitely be one of the highlights of 2023’s exhibition calendar – don’t miss it!
Click here to purchase an exhibition catalogue and please see the Wallace Collection website for exhibition tickets.
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