Joanna Braithwaite: Canine Council - self portrait with dogs in art

I found Joanna Braithwaite’s entry to this year’s Portia Geach Memorial Award at the S.H. Ervin Gallery absolutely irresistible. Titled Canine Council – self portrait with dogs in art, it shows Braithwaite almost completely engulfed by dogs of all shapes and sizes.

I looked for Braithwaite’s beloved black pug, Brains, and sure enough he’s there. See if you can spot him.

Joanna has this to say about this work:

“This painting is a self portrait in which I have surrounded myself with dogs taken from a variety of paintings across art history. As a dedicated painter of animals I have long been fascinated by the way other artists depict them in their paintings – in particular dogs. Often dogs are not the main subject, but are sitting quietly in a corner or beside the main focus of the painting. In portraiture their presence is often symbolic and sometimes reflects the values and status of the owners. I observed that dogs are not always given the same attention to detail and correctness as the main sitter and therefore can sometimes be anatomically odd and quite unrealistic. It was this very strangeness that attracted me to search paintings for dogs of interest when last I visited major galleries overseas. In this portrait I include dogs extracted from the works of many different artists such as Jan Van Eyck The betrothal of the Arnolfini, and Hogarth’s Self Portrait with Pug-dog. Some images are derived from naive paintings and early engravings of dogs and some from paintings by artists like George Stubbs who painted the pets of wealthy patrons.”

Below are a couple of close-ups from the painting.
Elizabeth Fortescue, September 29, 2010