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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 09, 2013

bif-steck, the pal of artists

From an article entitled "Something About Pictures," the author muses pleasantly on the life of a particular sidekick among the artists in Rome, mid 19th century.
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I have sometimes imagined what a story the old white dog who so long frequented the Lepri and the Caffè Greco, and attached himself so capriciously to the brother artists of his deceased master, could have told, if blest with memory and language. He had tasted the freedom and the zest of artist-life in Rome, and scorned to follow trader or king. He preferred the odor of canvas and oil to that of conservatories, and had more frolic and dainty morsels at an al fresco of the painters, in the Campagna, than the kitchen of an Italian prince could furnish. His very name betokened good cheer, and was pronounced after the manner of the pert waiters who complacently enunciate a few words of English. Bif-steck was a privileged dog; and though occasionally made the subject of a practical joke, taught absurd tricks, sent on fools' errands, and his white coat painted like a zebra, these were but casual troubles; he was a sensible dog to despise them, when he could enjoy such quaint companionship, behold such experiments in color and drawing, serve as a model himself, and go on delicious sketching excursions to Albano and Tivoli, besides inhaling tobacco-smoke and hearing stale jests and love soliloquies ad infinitum.
-- selected from "Something About Pictures," The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 1 No. 4 (February 1858).  Found via wikisource.org.

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