The Dog (Goya)  

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The Dog (c. 1819–1823) by Francisco Goya
The Dog (c. 1819–1823) by Francisco Goya

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The Dog[1] is the name usually given to a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. It shows the head of a small black dog gazing upwards. The dog itself is almost lost in the vastness of the rest of the image, which is empty except for a dark sloping area near the bottom of the picture: an unidentifiable mass which conceals the animal's body.

The Dog is one of the Black Paintings Goya painted directly onto the walls of his house sometime between 1819 and 1823. He did not intend the paintings for public exhibition (they were not removed from the house until 50 years after Goya had left), so it is unlikely that he gave them titles.

Antonio Saura called The Dog "the world's most beautiful picture".


Caspar David Friedrich's The Monk by the Sea painted around 1808–1809 is on a similar theme: a tiny figure dwarfed by a featureless landscape, but Goya's work goes further in breaking with traditional composition. While Friedrich's subject is dwarfed by its surroundings – the monk takes up an even smaller proportion of the canvas than Goya's dog – the landscape is recognisable as a landscape and the lines conventional. Goya's influence is apparent in the dog in Pierre Bonnard's 1910 The Red-Checkered Tablecloth, although the mood of Bonnard's cheerfully unambiguous painting is directly opposite to Goya's portentously obscure piece.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Dog (Goya)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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