Paintings of Pets - Capturing Animal Spirit in Art

by Toby Ward 20. February 2019 15:00

This week, pet owners show off their special animal friends on Love your Pet Day.

Studies have shown that owning a pet can increase your chances of being happy and successful. In fact, of 1,000 pet owners studied, researchers found that they brought laughter to six in 10 owners and made seven in 10 feel more relaxed.

As a nation of die-hard animal lovers, it’s not surprising our furry (and feathery and scaly) friends make us happy.

Animals are hugely popular subjects for artists, and why we have hundreds of paintings of all kinds of wildlife. 

Pets in art

Dogs and horses have always been incredibly popular in the history of art.

Some of the earliest cave paintings ever discovered is of horses. Many years before horses were domesticated they were being carefully observed and recorded by humans.

Renaissance artists painted their subjects with their dogs. Dogs symbolised loyalty, faithfulness, protection and love. One of the most well-known and recognised being Velazquez’ ‘Las Meninas’ where a dog snoozes in the corner, or Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini marriage where a puppy is at the forefront of the painting.

Here's a modern cat-tastic take on the Arnolfini Portrait.

 The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga  Koval
The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga Koval

One of the most famous animal painters of all time was George Stubbs who became internationally recognised for his horse portraits, and still is today. His lifelike studies show incredible detail that have influenced so many painters with horses being a subject that remains very popular.

Animals are also the stuff of myths and legends and have captured people’s imaginations for centuries. Unicorns, two-headed dogs, the phoenix have all played a big part of shaping stories for generations.

Domestic pets

Admit it, we all go gaga over a cute cat or dog. We are a nation that’s crazy about pets and animals in general and take their care very seriously.

Cats are loved - perhaps despite their famous ambivalence towards humans - unless they want something of course. Whereas dogs bound around looking for approval and attention from their owners.

Whether you are a cat or a dog person, there’s a lot of art to choose from.

The weird and wonderful

Not everybody sees the beauty in the more conventional pets, such as a cat or a dog, but instead prefer to look after some more unusual creatures, such as lizards or spiders.

These are creatures that require a lot of care and attention, as well as equipment, so people who look after unusual pets, really do have a passion for them.

Pet portraits

Because we are a nation that loves animals, there are artists at that can be commissioned to do pet portraits. Elaine Askew is one artist who having lived in Florida for many years, relocated back to the UK and is now inspired by the Durham coastline, and animals.

One of the most popular animal artists on our site is Sam Fenner. Her animal portraits really bring out their individual personalities and character. Unsurprisingly, her paintings capture a range of animals from dogs and alpacas to hares, cows and donkeys.

If you’re keen to have a portrait painted of your pet, then you can commission an artist via the Art Gallery site. Either drop us a line via the Contact Us page, or you can contact the artist direct.

All our artists have a ‘Make Enquiry’ button, so do get in contact with them to find out more.

Special offers

There’s always a great selection of art on our Special Offers page. For a limited time, artists reduce the price on some of their work, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great opportunity to get a great piece at a great price.

It’s also a great way to buy a gift for a close friend or loved one. Art can sometimes be seen as something that is a nice-to-have, so presenting them with a painting or sculpture can show them how it really transforms a room and a person’s mood. Combine these elements with a cute pet image and you’ve got the perfect work of art!


Art History | Buying Art

Cubist Art

by Toby Ward 12. February 2019 12:30

Are you feeling a bit of a square?

Well, it’s all going a bit square-shaped here at ArtGallery too, as we have gone slightly Cubism-mad!

Cubism is the modernist style that fits perfectlly into smart, stylish or minimalist interiors. Let's take a look at Cubist art - a style that changed the face of art and was the start of what we now call modern art.

The Cubist style has certainly stood the test of time as it still works with a range of interior styles today. 

When is a square not a square?

When photography entered mainstream society there was less of a need for paintings to be so realistic, especially when it came to portraiture. A camera could capture the likeness of a person, which left artists free to experiment with paint, reinvent what art means to society and create new styles.

Enter Picasso.

He realised that art could represent reality in different ways and that we could look at differently. It didn’t have to look ‘real’, so why not show multiple viewpoints and poses simultaneously?

 To test his theory, Picasso painted Les Demoiselles Davignon, which changed the course art and led to the birth of Cubism.

Portrait (cubist) by Stanislav Bojankov
Portrait (cubist) by Stanislav Bojankov

The term cubism comes from the block-like nature of the paintings. In order to fragment the image, Picasso mainly used square shapes to ‘build’ the image. Essentially, he was testing, experimenting and creating new art, which still influences the modern art of today.

Abstract or cubist

Abstract art is about distorting the everyday with the artist showing their own representation of an object or scene.

This can also be applied to Cubism, which is a form of abstract art. It’s a distorted view of reality that serves no other purpose than be a work of art.

Sounds a bit deep, but as the camera captured reality, art then became less about functionality and more about something people could appreciate aesthetically or had to think about.


The Cubist style has certainly stood the test of time as it works with a range of modern interiors. If you love a sleek, white interior, then it can add the focal interest to a wall, as well as a pop of colour.

It can also make a great statement piece as visually,  Cubist art is colourful, but often quite challenging. It makes you want to look at it for a while. So hang in a central location where you can get to stop and contemplate it for a while.

Music box (landscape) by Paresh Nrshinga
Music box (landscape) by Paresh Nrshinga

Types of Cubist art

Picasso used a range of subjects for his Cubist paintings. This still applies today with a wide range of themes being captured in this style, such as food, drink, instruments and figures.

Cubist artists tend to use simple shapes and forms. This stems from the fact they like to transform the everyday by distorting the image to make it look as though you’re seeing it from a range of angles.


There is a wide selection of Cubist art on our site and something to suit for every taste. Arie Coetzee paints abstract images, as well as block-like landscapes and townscapes that are inspired by Cubism.

Neil Hemsley is a digital artist who experiments with a range of styles and themes in his art, from Surrealism to Cubism. He currently has a series of images based on this art movement.

Cubism that doesn't break the budget

There is a wide selection of Cubist art on our site for every budget. Having this style of art on your wall doesn’t need to break the budget. You can buy a work for as little as £90, and then right up to £600.  

If the budget’s looking a bit tight but you’ve seen your dream painting, then there’s always the Own Art scheme to help finance your purchase.

The scheme works on 0% APR and you can spread payments over 10 months, which gives you the opportunity to get that work of art you’ve always wanted to own.


Art History | Buying Art | The Art World

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