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 !

Friday, August 21, 2015

a mercenary and his dog, 1628

thanks wikimedia commons (PD:100)
Hendrick ter Brugghen (Dutch; 1588-1629) left little in the way of history behind him.  A few decades after his death a critic remarked on the "profound, but melancholic thoughts" in his work, and I buy that when I look at his "A Laughing Bravo with his Dog" from 1628.  A bravo is another name for a mercenary, if the military-style cap didn't give it away.  This is a man who lives a hard and cruel life, one that requires toughness and stamina, and he doesn't look like a shrinking violet.  Then there's his dog, a healthy big fellow who loves his master, and his master loves him.  This is a precursor of the photos we appreciate now of the soldiers gaining comfort from their pets, often four-footed soldiers alongside them.
To my surprise and delight, this painting was the center of a recent "Selfie Showdown" contest at the Cincinnati Art Museum, which is  a great example of people engaging with their pets and art at the same time.  Here's the story.

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