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Voices from the Village: Attention all animal lovers with talent: We want you

Join the Art for Barks parade of artists, authors and veterinarians who lend their talents to improve the quality of life for family pets. Recently, Art for Barks has partnered with San Diego Humane Society in a new program, “Art to the Rescue,” to assist in the adoption of more animals. Previously, Art for Barks created the nation’s first collection of Service Dog Fine Art inspiring people to understand the profound contributions they make in improving the life of humans.

The Art for Barks website includes dogs, cats, horses and wildlife in its celebration of animal art. Today, we will tell you a story why dog art has been popular for so many centuries.

The earliest dog art images appeared about 6,000 years ago. Humans identified with dogs because they display a similar range of emotions. Yet, it is the “unconditional love and loyalty” dog’s display that make them man’s best friend and a favorite subject of art.

In early art the dog took on spiritual qualities, such as a deity, a guardian of the deceased soul by the Egyptians and an ancestor of man in Native American people and in Central Asia. Genghis Khan traced his heritage back to the union of a grey wolf and a white doe and named his four greatest generals the “Dogs of War.”

In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome were nursed by a she-wolf. The Greeks and Romans created the constellations after the great dog “Canis Major” and the little dog “Canis Minor.” Early Greek and Roman Art shows dog images clearly related to modern breeds, such as the Greyhound and Mastiff. In the Middle Ages, sleek Greyhounds were symbols of prestige and the Mastiff became a war dog and guardian of livestock.

Little dogs were guardians of the Buddhist faith and deemed symbols of good luck throughout Asia. In Christianity, the dog became a symbol of faith. In Europe between the fifth and 14th centuries, hunting dogs were extremely popular in art as a prized family possession. During the Renaissance, working dogs became the favorite art subject: pulling carts, herding animals, guarding property and competing in sporting events. Edwin Landseer’s (1802 – 1873) painting of a dog with a flowing red cape rescuing a traveler from the water was an early, popular depiction of a service dog.

In the 18th century the individual dog portrait became a popular genre for the wealthy. Today, talented Art for Barks artists will paint a portrait of your family dog for an affordable price.

By the 20th century, a distinct change occurred in the depiction of the dog in art. New styles evolved as artists strove for individuality and a depiction of new concepts. Lincoln Seligman’s “Art Lover” (2010) humorously displays a black Lab appreciating Pop art symbols created by Andy Warhol (1928-1987).

From ancient times to the modern era, the visual representation of man’s most loyal friend remains popular.

Find stimulating art at and volunteer at [email protected]