6 Federico Barocci’s Faithful Fidos: A Study in the Efficacy of Counter-Reformation Imagery

in Our Dogs, Our Selves
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This chapter examines four of Barocci’s altarpieces that effectively and resourcefully employ dogs to reveal new levels of meaning in their subjects. These include The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, where a dog curls up on Sebastian’s abandoned cloak; The Martyrdom of St. Vitalis, where a dog reacts to the arrival of a lizard; The Last Supper, where a dog considers drinking from a wine cooler; and The Institution of the Eucharist, with a dog who accompanies the foreground servants as they depart the scene. An examination of the ingenious incorporation of a dog in these four pictures underscores Barocci’s importance as one of the first original iconographers of the Counter-Re­formation.

Our Dogs, Our Selves

Dogs in Medieval and Early Modern Art, Literature, and Society


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