If you are lucky enough to have an animal companion you understand the loving bond that exists between man and beast. No matter how tough life gets, to be greeted with unconditional love and enthusiasm each time you walk in the door, is a true gift.
From Stone Age cave art to Broadway, human storytelling has included animals as an important part of the narrative, often using them as symbols for human behavior or to explain our bond with the natural environment.
It was in the 19th century that artists began adding animals to domestic scenes for more sentimental reasons. As dogs, cats, and birds became common companions, artists began including them in portraits as both a symbol of wealth and status, and for the insight they provide into the subject’s personality. Before photography, painting was the only form of documentation of people’s day-to-day lives so as animals gained importance in peoples’ lives, their resurgence in art grew.
Artists have long enjoyed the soothing and therapeutic effects of sharing their lives and work with a pet; as more people are working from home, the relationship between man and animal is intensifying. And with that increased bond comes a desire for portraits of pets.
Some see paintings and videos of pets as silly and unworthy of serious attention but there is a reason that these works of art often go viral on social media. Our pets are a steadfast element of our busy lives and an integral part of our wellbeing. They love us unconditionally; what a great gift!