Monday, February 28, 2011

Dog Crossing

Alea Jacta Est.

This is what Julius Caesar is reported to have said as he crossed the River Rubicon at the head of his army and began the pursuit of Pompey, his rival in the Roman Senate, into Northern Italy. Literally translated it means, the die has been cast. Practically speaking, it means there is no turning back once this action has been taken.

Here, the German artist, Wilhelm Truber, gives his version of Crossing the Rubicon (1878/79).

Painting image found here
I love how the painting captures the moment within which the dog may actually be considering its options and how the title perfectly reflects the import of that moment. 

What kind of dog do you think this is?  It looks a lot line a Cane Corso to me - the cropped ears* particularly. 

*This image is slightly different from the one I have in the book, Best in Show: The Dog in Art from the Rennaissance to Today, Yale University Press, 2006.  In that book, the dog is darker, its eyes seem closer to the top of its skull and are more closed, its cropped ears curve in then out again toward the tips, and there are three links in the plate.  But the idea shared by both is unmistakable.