Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Death of Socrates and His Little Brown Dog

The Death of Socrates and His Little Brown Dog (1787) - click to enlarge
Content and Criticism
The Death of Socrates and His Little Brown Dog (1787) is painting by the French painter Jacques-Louis David.

Accused by the Athenian government of denying the gods and corrupting the young through his teachings, Socrates (469–399 B.C.E.) was offered the choice of renouncing his beliefs or being sentenced to death by drinking hemlock. David shows him calmly discoursing on the immortality of the soul with his grief-stricken disciples. 

In this painting, a red-robed disciple hands a confident Socrates the goblet of hemlock. Socrates' hand points to the heavens indicating his reverence of the gods and fearless attitude to his death. The painting also depicts both Crito and Plato, with the former sitting ruefully at the edge of the bed and the latter clutching the knee of Socrates.

Socrates' faithful hound Carmella waits patiently under the bed, ignored as usual, while he pontificates. The dog's own bowl of hemlock is placed unceremoniously on the floor and she waits for a signal from her beloved master that is is time to drink.

Contemplative in the shadows, perhaps Carmella represents Socrates' self-doubt and fear, which he never shared with his disciples. Yet the artist's placement of the little brown dog lying on the open shackles reminds the viewer that Socrates and Carmella are bound not by iron chains, rather by the strength of their resolve.

More Art Hound (by artist)
Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Socrates

Sister Hound Maddie

I came across "Maddie the Coonhound: a super serious project about dogs and physics" a few months ago when my Dave sent Susan a link that made her bark out loud.

Last minute costume idea from Maddie. Happy Halloween! credit

You can check out more photos of Maddie on her website. There is also a book and even an app. She is a very patient gal. I guess she loves treats as much as I do. Maddie is most known for her balancing but I like her serenity. She is quite beautiful - she looks rather like me!

Maddie on Things

The Maddie the Coonhound project is an off-shoot of her person's project This Wild Idea. Maddie and Theron spent a year traveling all the states and collecting stories. I haven't had time to peruse them yet but I bet they are pretty cool.

Here's a nice interview with Maddie's person about how he and Maddie work together.

"It's pretty simple, and I think she's always up for it, especially since the photos only take 30 seconds. Over time she has learned when I pick her up I want her to stay. She knows if she stands still she will get a treat and eventually a "Go!" command allows her to run around really fast. She really loves that command." Maddie's person Theron

Maddie the Coonhound    credit

I expect she got the bacon, in the end.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fat Cat Art

I always keep close an eye on cats. Especially when they sidle into my territory. I know I am hardly the only dog on the interweb who's into art. But this Russian cat gives my Art Hound chase. Well done, Zarathustra!

Here are my three favorites.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Dreams

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. A roast bird and family. What more could a little brown dog ask for? How about an invitation!

I spent the day sleeping at home. The pack came home smelling of poultry and young cats. I suppose it would have been a lot to ask of me to not chase Grandma and Grandpa's new cats. But it would have been a awesome calorie burner.

Since I didn't get to join this day of eating, I spent some time dreaming. There are some great ideas out there, in case you want to give me a Christmas present.

Meat gadgets: No one would ever really wonder want happened to the remote if it was made of meat.   credit

Take me to the Meatloaf Bakery in Chicago. I will have The Mother Loaf ®, please. credit

It has been made perfectly clear that I am not allowed in the furniture. But how about if I eat it?  credit

Shall I fetch your shoes for you?       credit

A dog can dream...       credit

But back to Thanksgiving... Here are five things I am thankful for:

1. My family - even if they only feed me one cup of dry dog food each day.
2. Walkies - even if often there are only three.
3. Clawless cats - even if they stare at me without blinking.
4. Peanut butter - even if it only comes in jars that don't fit my head.
5. Squirrels - even if they mostly don't fall out of trees.

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Carmella