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I have always believed that art is one of the biggest forms of communication and signs of cultural assimilation and it has been throughout history. I choose to explore the role that dogs play in this theme. From changes in the symbolism of the dog and the ethics of breeding, art reveals a lot about our furry friends. While I learn much about dogs by themselves, the way we represent them also says a lot about our society. Do we see animals as more than us in some way and less in others? Is a dog painting really about the dog or the human that created it? Does the way we represent dogs change with time or are there still aspects from the past that continue now? Each of these questions goes back to one main idea. Humans have represented dogs in different ways throughout history, essentially making the dog a vehicle for social, economic, and artistic trends. I [will mainly] focus[ed] on the role a dog plays in humanity's response to major events or continual occurrences. Most of the art I studied was European art from the late 1600s to the late 1800s, with a few outliers to explore the origins and effects of art from this time. In general, this time period is the foundation for the world as we know it. The French Revolution, the end of the Christian-Islamic Crusades, Colonialism, and the aftermath of the black death all changed the subject matter and meaning behind art. As the world around artists changed, so did the way they viewed and portrayed dogs. Overall, I have found that 1) dogs are present in art throughout the ages because they are the medium of humanity. What happens to humans must be projected onto animals because our lives are intertwined. 2) Everyone views the world differently, but we see through a limited scope based on what is "trending" in society. And 3) there are constants in art because there are constants on Earth. We create things on what is available to us: emotions, animals, nature, etc. What I have discovered from this research isn't necessarily groundbreaking or shockingly new, but it did help me better understand the world around me. As the world around us changes, knowledge is our one constant.
Utah State University
Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering
Stewart, Whitney, "The Dog as a Trend in Art" (2020). Fall Student Research Symposium 2020. 92.