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
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
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Mahon, Denis, Il Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1591-1666): Catalogo critico dei dipinti, p. 130
Lothar Schirmer (ed.), "Gemalte Tiere" - "Animals in Art", 9 pp. 46-47
Captured Emotion: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1728, fig. 2 p. 41
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