Dogs and Casinos in Paintings

  • 10/03/2020

Without a doubt, man’s best friend has captured the hearts of many of its owners, even more so those who have artistic skills. There is quite a sizeable chunk of paintings depicting dogs produced by some painters. Of course, as with any other paintings, each artefact has its own accompanying story.

A Friend in Need by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge


Source:  Wikimedia Commons

The Dogs Playing Poker series of paintings has enjoyed a lot of discussion around the art circles. The series of 18 paintings developed by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge brings about a portrayal of various themes centred around dogs and poker. Amongst these, there is one which is quite popular – "A Friend in Need" which involves a game of poker pitting 2 bulldogs against 5 hounds. Unlike in modern day times where one can play mobile casino and pay with phone credit,  Coolidge had the only the option of making the paint setting a traditional-like brick and wall casino. The painting depicts one of the bulldogs being involved in the process of passing on an ace card to its partner sitting next – a form of deceit. If it were in modern-day times, perhaps Cassius would now portray how this deceit may have been avoided if the dogs were playing more modern forms of casino.

Other notable paintings

Whilst the above fascinating painting is a major highlight, it would be equally worthwhile to discuss a shortlist of other notable mentions of painting involving man’s best friends. These are listed in no particular order.

1.    Dog – By Pablo Picasso


Source: Art.Com

Perhaps another notable mention is the abstract painting of Picasso’s pet dog popularly named “Dog”. Picasso was a pet lover and dogs were amongst his favourite. The painting is made of simple lines depicting his favourite dog Lump, a Dachshund. Of course, the dog would appear in several other paintings of the same – a way of animal lovers to present their love for their dogs. Replicas of the painting are widely available at very reasonable prices in online shops across the world.

2.    Head of a Dog by Edvard Munch

Many of Edvard Munch’s, a Norwegian artist, paintings portray a lot of emotions believed to be based on the mental torture he faced during his life. It is believed that at the latter stages of his life, he was confined away from human company, with the only exception being that of his dogs. No wonder the origin of the painting.


Source : Wikiart

3.    The Master’s Voice by Michael Sowa


Source: Wikiart

In perhaps what can be described as a similar manner depicted by Cassius Marcellus, the German Artist Michael Sowa somehow liked to paint animals as subjects of focuses whilst depicting human behaviour.

4.    Cave Canem

The story of Pompei is quite popular, mostly because of its destruction in AD79 after a volcanic eruption. The painting of Cave Canem, which may be translated as “Beware of the Dog” is a popular mosaic depicting a dog tied to a huge chain. The painting is of unknown origin and can be found in The House of the Tragic Poet. It is believed the painting was more a form of raising awareness of the presence of dogs within the neighbourhood.


Source : University of Chicago

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