18th Century Venice: Dancing Dogs

In this Zomponi engraving we see a pair of performing dogs, possibly but not necessarily around Carnival time. Performing animals were popular in Venice – see the marmot in my previous post – and included monkeys, squirrels and mice as well as marmots and dogs. Giandomenico Tiepolo made some superb drawings of dancing dogs, some dancing with one another, others in a full-blown fête champêtre with human companions.

Giandomenico Tiepolo: Dogs Dancing
Giandomenico Tiepolo: A country scene with mummers and performing dogs

By way of contrast, I’ve also included below a rather depressing albeit very well known painting by Pietro Longhi, Il casotto del leone – one might reasonably say this shows the Lion of St Mark at his most abject, surrounded by unfortunate little creatures dolled up in suffocating costumes.

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