Art

Greyhounds have been depicted in numerous works of art throughout history.  From the decorations on the tombs of the ancient Egyptians to contemporary pieces, loyal dogs can be seen participating in every aspect of daily life.  Wander around any museum or art gallery or browse through any history or art book and you will be amazed at just how many works include Greyhounds showing they have always been held with high regard and affection throughout the ages.

 

Greyhounds were revered by the ancient Egyptians and the tombs of several Pharaohs are decorated with images of their favourite dogs or contain their mummified remains.

 

An Etruscan vase dating from around 500BC shows Pollux and Leda (from Greek and Roman mythology) enjoying the company of their horses and Greyhound. 

 
   

Ancient mosaics have been uncovered that depict dogs resembling Greyhounds.  A famous one called “Cave Canem” was discovered in Pompei.  This one is from around 2AD can be found in the House of Dionysus in Paphos, Crete.

 

Greyhounds are depicted in the lavishly decorated texts of many illuminated manuscripts including the celtic knotwork designs of the Book of Lindesfarne, written and illustrated by  monks around 650AD.

 
 

Throughout the centuries Greyhounds have been shown in the rich tapestries of the nobility usually depicted in hunting scenes.  One of the most famous ones is the Bayeux Tapestry.  It is 70 metres long and depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.  (This image is only a small portion of it.)


In the 14th century Gaston Phoebus, the 11th Count of Foix was one of the greatest huntsmen of the time.  He wrote “Le Livre de Chasse”, The Book of the Hunt which recorded the stages of hunting, different animals and their behaviour.  The book contained exquisite miniature illustrations of hunting scenes, many showing Greyhounds.

 
   

Frescos (murals) have been painted on the walls and ceiling of buildings since antiquity.  This one from the 15th century showing a Greyhound is in the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, Italy.

 

Statues and figurines often depict Greyhounds in their sculptured form.  They can also be found on many old sarcophagi (stone coffins often with carved representations of the deceased), the loyal dogs keeping watch over the masters into eternity.  This famous statue is the “White Greyhound of Richmond”, the symbol of the royal Tudors.  It is located in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew in London.

 

The following are a few examples of paintings depicting Greyhounds from various movements of the art history timeline.  (Please excuse any errors as the writer does not have an art history degree.)

   

“The Vision of St Eustace”, Pisanello, 1438 (Early Renaissance)

 

“Boy with a Greyhound”, Paolo Veronese, 1500’s (Late Renaissance)

 
   

“Studies of a Greyhound”, Federico Zuccaro, 1563 (Mannerism)

 

“Diana After the Hunt”, Gerrit van Honthorst, 1600’s (Baroque)

 
   

“Boy with Plumed Hat and Greyhound “, Joseph Wright, 1750 (Neo-Classicism)

"Sir Robert Leighton after Coursing", John Ferneley Snr, 1816 (Equine Art)

 
   

“Victoria Princess Royal and Eos” (favourite dog of Prince Albert), Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, 1841 (Romanticism)

 

“Lorenzo and Isabella”, John Everett Millais, 1849 (Pre-Raphaelite)

 
   

“Elegant Lady Walking her Greyhounds on the Beach”, Edmond-Louis Dupain, 1882 (Realism)

 

“Lady with Black Greyhound”, Giovanni Boldini, 1920’s (Impressionism)

 
  "Woman with Greyhound”, Egon Schiele, 1916 (Art Noveau)
“Mr Bones”, Michel Keck, contemporary (Pop Art)