The depiction of the dog in art history has often reflected a close symbolic and idealised relationship between the animal and his owner, very often shown together. This is what we are told by the Renaissance portraits, which blend the centrality of the figure of man with his curiosity for nature.
In its religious-moral but also political and economic implications, the dog is very often a symbol of loyalty towards the other. In contemporary society, dogs readily become an alter ego of their owners or an entity on which to project their desires for achievement. Suffice to think of the great success of the sale of objects linked to dog care (from apparel to studded collars, from toys to carriers and outlandishly ornate resting cushions) or the sites that advertise them and the presence of genuine canine social network accounts, with ones attracting millions of followers, recounting the exploits, the poses and all the emotions of these faithful friends.
From 25 May to 7 September 2019, the Boccanera Gallery dedicates an exhibition to the figure of the dog entitled ‘Cave Canem’. The words taken from the mosaics of Pompeii, portraying a black dog on a leash, reveal the desire to showcase and to dialogue with one of the most ancient themes of figurative painting, yet at the same time the most intimate part of a number of selected private collections, starting from the personal collection of Giorgia Lucchi Boccanera, founder and owner of the Boccanera Gallery, and of Peggy (and before her, Kira), her beloved mongrels. Over her ten-year history as a gallerist, Giorgia has often recounted her experiences with dogs to the artists she has worked with, and they themselves have frequently dedicated works to the figure of the dog, only to discover that many collectors shared this passion of hers for one the most private aspects of their own domestic portrayals.
Indeed, the exhibition brings together the works of thirty-eight artists, from the private collection of Lucchi Boccanera and of a number of collectors, as well as a number of galleries or artists called upon to provide a work depicting their own beloved pet as an extension of themselves, ready to dialogue with other representations as well as with the surprise of visitors, welcomed to this very special "International Dog Show".
The exhibition is accompanied by a short volume featuring a previously unpublished short story by Brigidina Gentile titled Cave Canem. Caffé Utopia.