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Man's Best Friend? Dogs and Pigs in Early Modern Germany

By Alison Stewart

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When Jacob Seisenegger and Titian painted individual portraits of Emperor Charles V around 1532, a dog replaced such traditional accouterments of imperial power as crown, scepter, and orb.3 Charles placed one hand on the dog’s collar, a gesture indicating his companion’s noble qualities including faithfulness.4 At the same time, another more down-to-earth meaning for the dog had become prominent in the decades before the imperial portraits: the interest in and ability to eat anything in sight. This pig-like ability resulted in dogs, alongside pigs, becoming emblems of indiscriminate and gluttonous eating and drinking during the early sixteenth century when humanists, along with town and imperial authorities and reformers across confessional lines, addressed their heightened concern for social issues. These reform issues and other approaches will be discussed in this chapter.


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Publication Title Animals and Early Modern Identity
Pages 19-44
Publisher Ashgate/Gower
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animals in culture
  3. Art
  4. Dogs
  5. Germany
  6. History
  7. Human-animal bond
  8. Mammals
  9. Pet ownership
  10. Pets and companion animals
  11. Pigs
  12. Power