The Aldrovandi Dog
c. 1625
On View

Canine portraits appear from the late 16th century forward, as dogs became beloved pets and, for the nobility, status symbols. This life-size portrait presents a specific dog, perhaps the favorite of Count Filippo Aldrovandi of Bologna (1598–1644), whose coat of arms is visible on its leather collar. About six years later, in 1631, the artist painted a portrait of the count’s horse as well. Both paintings would have been hung fairly high in a salon, or reception room, where they would appear to tower over the viewer. Guercino has silhouetted the brindle-coated dog against a rich blue sky, where precisely placed clouds emphasize the dog’s vivid presence and scale. A sweeping landscape behind the dog, believed to represent the Aldrovandi Castle, is more likely an invention of the artist.


  • Artist Name: Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, 1591-1666)
  • Title: The Aldrovandi Dog
  • Date: c. 1625
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 44 x 68 in. (112 x 173.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1984.2.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Conte Filippo Aldrovandi, Bologna,until 2nd half of 18th century.
John Smith-Barry, Marbury Hall, Northwich, by descent to;
Arthur Hugh Smith-Barry, Lord Barrymore, Marbury Hall, Northwich, by descent to;
Mrs. Bertram Bell of the Smith-Barry family (sale, London, Sotheby’s, 12 July 1972, no. 7, ill., to);
[David Koetser Gallery, Zurich, in partnership with Drs. Fritz and Peter Nathan, Zurich, sold 1980 to];
Norton Simon, sold 1982 to;
[Drs. Fritz and Peter Nathan, Zurich, in partnership with David Koester Gallery, Zurich, sold 1984 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Exhibition of Paintings from Irish Collections

  • Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, 1957-05-20 to 1957-08-25
  • Pulini, Massimo, Guercino, racconti di paese: Il paesaggio e la scena popolare nei luoghi e nell' epoca di Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, pp. 56, 84 (color ill), 172-173, cat. 38 (color ill.)
  • Mahon, Denis, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591-1666): Catalogo critico dei dipinti,1968, p. 130
  • Lothar Schirmer (ed.), "Gemalte Tiere" - "Animals in Art",2021, 9 pp. 46-47
  • Captured Emotion: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1728,2008, fig. 2 p. 41
  • Gazette des Beaux-Arts,1985, p. 32, pl. 183
  • Mahon, Denis, Massimo Pulini, Vittorio Sgarbi, and Palazzo Reale Di Milano, Guercino: Poesia e Sentimento Nella Pittura Del '600,2003, p. 47, p. 49
  • Salerno, L., I Dipinti del Guercino,1988,
  • Baldi, Pio, Laura Cibrario, and Fabiola Jatta, Aperti per restauri: Il restauro di Venere e Amore del Guercino e dell'Allegoria della Fortuna di Guido Reni,2015, pp. 19-20
  • Stone, D. M., Guercino: Catalogo completo dei dipinti,1991, p. 120, ill.97
  • Oretti, M., Ms. B104, p. 8
  • Damian, Véronique, Pittura italiana tra Sei e Settecento: Un Portrait de lévrier par Baccio del Bianco,2004, p. 10
  • Grazia, D. and E. Garberson, Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,1996, pp. 158-159, 162 n. 13
  • Waagen, G., Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain,1857, p. 411
  • Alsteens, Stijn, Spira Freyda, Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700,2012, p. 83
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 43
  • Sutton, Denys, Country Life,1957, p. 1262 (ill.)
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1654 p. 431
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Additional Artwork by Artist

The Suicide of Cleopatra Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) c. 1621

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