Noise An Arts Blog

The Walters shows off works in its collection depicting doggos and kitties tonight

A History of Pets: Cats and Dogs in the Walters Collection
May 4

When I was a kid, two of my favorite picture books were on depictions of cats and dogs, respectively, found in Renaissance and Baroque paintings. That undoubtedly sowed the seeds for my ever-persistent geekdom for European painting and the thrill I still get when I see a dopey or excessively silky or malformed or otherwise ridiculous-looking friendo in museums. The Walters is an excellent source for such images, from a late Edo print of a drunken servant running away from a muscled, bi-pedaled dog thing; to a heckin coot 19th-century American painting of a puppy and kitten snuggling up together called "Good Friends"; to Bolognese painter Lavinia Fontana's late 16th-century portrait of Ginevra Aldrovandi Hercolani, looking sad and formidable as fuck in her widow's garb except that she's shaking the piddle paw of her tiny spaniel (it's a symbol of loyalty to her late husband, but to me it says, "I still got my dog, I don't need a man"). Hear the Walters' Curatorial Fellow Joanna Gohmann and Public Programs Coordinator Hannah Burstein talk puppers and kitters in the museum’s collection and the varied roles domesticated animals have played in society and in art throughout time. 6:30 p.m., The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St., (410) 547-9000,, free (advance registration requested).

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