About Me

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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, July 07, 2012

a distinguished dog

thanks wikimedia commons {PD}
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873):  now there's the inescapable artist of Victorian Britain.  Seen the big lions around Nelson's Column in London?  That's him.  Most any painting of Queen Victoria's family and pets?  Probably him.  Mighty Scottish stags in the grand Highlands? Ditto.  And it's easy to shrug that off if you don't much care for 19th century Romanticism, but Landseer really was good.  I'm not only talking about the high technical quality of his work.  You can't escape that.  After all, look at the sheen and ruffle of the fur on this fellow in 1838's A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society.  But take a moment to call up any slideshow of Landseer's work, and though you'll see a lot of broad appeals to sentiment, you will also see a feeling for the creatures he paints.
I think he particularly cared for dogs, whom he paints with appreciation for all their varied characters. There's a piece portraying the Princess Royal in her cradle, with Prince Albert's greyhound Eos tucking her head between the plump baby's feet. You need to be possessed of a certain kind of sensitivity to pull that off well.  As it happens, with all his success and genius, Landseer suffered from melancholy and depression for much of his life.  I can't help but wonder if that was the result of a tender disposition forced to battle with his society's expectations of an up-and-coming man.

1 comment:

parlance said...

That's a lovely paining with the greyhound.