Famous dog paintings High Life 1829 was painted by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer. Landseer’s dog paintings of the 1830s are among his most popular works. About half consist of commissioned, life-size ‘portraits’, the rest are independent subjects, smaller in scale and usually with a narrative content. This particular work was conceived as a pair with Low Life, and depicting a battle-scarred terrier, guarding his master’s shop. dog portrait paintings
The intention is to juxtapose two dogs from different worlds and different social classes as representations of their absent owners. There is a long literary and pictorial tradition behind such contrasts as virtue and vice, good and evil, which usually have some kind of moral purpose. Here the contrast is more one of character than of morality. The deerhound in this picture reflects an aristocratic world of chivalry; the interior is like a scene from a Walter Scott novel.
Various props scattered on the table and floor give the impression that the dog’s master is a knight: hawking gloves, two rapiers, a sixteenth century-style helmet and breastplate, a standing cup, old leather-bound books, a partially unrolled document, a quill pen, a candlestick made from an eagle’s talon and a bellpull. Through the window can be glimpsed a castellated tower. The dog itself was once thought to have been Scott’s dog Maida, but in pose and colouring the dog is closer to Landseer’s own deerhound, which appears with Maida in A Scene at Abbotsford. This dog represents the chivalrous, the rural and the patrician, as opposed to the feisty terrier, which represents the tough, urban values of the plebeian English workman. dog portraits from photos