Summer traditionally ends with dog days. You know those hot, listless, airless spans in August that have people dreaming of thunderstorms and cold fronts.
But why not begin summer with a thought about dogs?
This is not hard for me, as my life is ruled by two dogs (below you’ll find a picture of one of them, my alpha Westie, Alice). Thus, this blog post combines two of my favorite things—portraiture and dogs—to take a closer look at a work of art in the Museum’s permanent collection.
Around 1735, the New York artist Gerardus Duyckinck I painted the portrait of young Jacomina Winkler, who was probably ten or twelve. Jacomina’s father had been a merchant in the Dutch East Indies and had settled in Colonial New York, a place with long-standing ancestral Dutch colonial ties.
There is a lot to love in this portrait, from young Jacomina’s sweet expression to the hard-edged, linear quality of Duyckinck’s contour lines. The folds in the red mantle (coat) that Miss Winkler wears are stiffer than beaten meringue peaks.
But what I love the best, of course, is the dog in her lap. This is not just any old dog, but a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel…and a very unhappy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, at that. You just know that this dog is the kind who’s going to snap at you if you try to pet it.