art history meme | 5/9 paintings: The Dog by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, ca. 1819, 1823.
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, so it is unlikely that he gave them titles.
The enigmatic depiction of the dog has led to myriad interpretations of Goya’s intentions. The painting is often seen a symbolic depiction of man’s futile struggle against malevolent forces; the black sloping mass which envelopes the dog is imagined to be quicksand, earth or some other material in which the dog has become buried. Having struggled unsuccessfully to free itself, it can now do nothing but look skywards hoping for a divine intervention that will never come. The vast swathe of “sky” which makes up the bulk of the picture intensifies the feeling of the dog’s isolation and the hopelessness of its situation. Others see the dog as cautiously raising its head above the black mass, afraid of something outside the painting’s field of view, or perhaps an image of abandonment, loneliness and neglect