Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (1803 - 1860), c. 1829
oil on canvas,
98 cm x 130.5 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
The watchdogs in this monumental painting are almost life size. It is as though they are right in front of you. Decamps rendered the animals in great detail. Notice their bristly coats, and the white dog’s panting mouth. They seem so close by because the farm in the background is small and sketchily depicted.
Mesdag already owned two paintings by Decamps when he bought this animal portrait in 1888. He hung it on the second floor of his recently opened museum.