The Dog

Francisco Goya-The Dog 1819-1823

The Dog is one of the fourteen Pinturas Negras (Black Paintings, see Painting It Black) that Goya painted in his house outside Madrid towards the end of his life. The Dog conveys a sense of sublimity, terror and an unbearable pathos with an enviable simplicity.

The painting is divided in two unequal parts: a dirty ochre above and a dark brown below. There has been much debate regarding the origin of the shadow to the right of the painting, and whether it is intentional, however it probably was the previous design on the wall which Goya painted over. Staring upward into the vastness of the sky is the dog, alone and apparently sinking into the quicksand of the earth. All the heart-break and despair involved in terrestrial existence is concentrated in the expression of mute appeal of the dog  as he searches the heavens for a sign of a return of his varnished master.

The Dog has been called the first Symbolist painting  and was held in particular high regard by Picasso and Joan Miro.


7 thoughts on “The Dog

  1. Mr. Cake as you know, “The Dog” is my favorite of the “Black Paintings”, it’s almost impossible to view this, and not feel like you’re going down with the dog. Perhaps even the underdog. I think what is very interesting is the color palette that Goya used for his “Black Paintings”. Oddly enough, these are primarily warm colors, the browns, which most people will find visually engaging, without understanding why. So while you are viewing something disturbing at the same time you are mesmerized by it. Another wonderful post. ~ Miss Cranes


      1. You’re welcome Mr. Cake. I think if someone where to spend more time with these paintings, they may even reveal and tell a story line in their entirety. We know the paintings contain personal commentaries and narratives about the artist, his visions, his surroundings and his mental and emotional state of mind. We know that they were personal to him, and we know that he was perhaps being extremely vulnerable in the act of creating these painting, so much so that they were not intended for the public eye. Does this make them all the more endearing, I think so.


  2. This is a fantastic painting. And it is terrifying. Although the shadow may be unintentional, it certainly adds an element of mystery. What I see is this: Either the disappeared master, to whom the dog looks for direction or rescue. Or the shadowy essence of a cruel onlooker who walked away while the dog is relentlessly consumed by the quicksand. Amazing and awful all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

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