http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.5948 courtesy the rijksmuseum (PD)
The winter chill outside brings one particular squirrel to our bird feeders. He must do quite well leeching off our winged visitors, as he's fat, though still able to outdistance the dog. Off he goes, bouncing across the fencetops and leaving me with a yen to look up some squirrels of the past. Here's a jewel I'd never seen before, from the Rijksmuseum: Francesco Montemezzano's "Portrait of a woman with a squirrel," c. 1565-75. Can't see the squirrel very well, right? Here's a squirrel-hance:
Look at the little belled collar. Must have driven the little guy to distraction. (See how I didn't say "driven him nuts"? I found this piece in an excellent list of squirrels in Medieval and Renaissance art, here.)
Montemezzano (Italian, c. 1540-1602) seems to have been a follower of Veronese's style; Veronese was known for the brilliance of his color and elegant portrayal of his sitters.