On the last Sunday in April, we celebrate National Pet Parents Day. This is a chance to celebrate pet ownership, in all of its forms, from those of us who share our homes with cats and dogs, to those who care for and love horses, bunnies, chickens, and goats! We thought it would be fun to look at pet parents as they are depicted in paintings from around the world. Some of these images are famous, a few of them created a stir when they were first created, but all of them beautifully represent animals and the people who cared for them.
Today, 67% of households have at least one pet, but that wasn’t always the case. While pets became fashionable companions in the 13th and 14th centuries, it wasn’t until the Victorian Era that keeping pets became a symbol of affluence and luxury. By the 1800’s, however, artists’ works changed, featuring everyday people with their pets and their livestock. So, without further ado, here is a beautiful, curated collection of pet parents and their beloved animals from the late 1400’s to the 1930’s:
Dosso Dossi, “Portrait of a Young Man with a Dog and a Cat” 1486-1542.
Leonard daVinci, “The Lady with an Ermine” 1489-1491.
Paolo Veronese, “The Feast at the House of Levi” 1573.
George Romney, “Lady Hamilton as Nature” 1782.
Francisco de Goya, “Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga” 1787-88.
Heinrich Hirt, “Feeding the Rabbits” circa 1840’s
Jean-François Millet, “Shepherdess and Her Flock” 1862-63.
Charles Burton Barber, “A Monster” 1866.
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, “Portrait of a Lady with a Rabbit” 1871.
Briton Rivière, “Sympathy” 1877.
Mary Cassatt, “Little Girl in a Blue Armchair” 1878.
Frederick George Cotman, “One of the Family” 1880.
Georges Seurat, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” 1884-86.
Tsuguharu Fujita, “Self Portrait” 1932.
Edward Hopper, “Cape Cod Evening” 1939.