Saturday, 1 May 2021

smoking dogs

Admittedly we were unaware of this motif and the religious iconography behind it and were rather blind to the profusion of details of sedate hounds in the corners and margins of high Renaissance to the early modern period of Spanish colonial paintings portrayed apparently as fetching a fat joint. Thanks to Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump for educating and disabusing us of this trope which rather references the hagiographical tradition built up around Saint Dominic and the Dominican Order. The eleventh century Juana de Aza (Blessed Jane or Joan of Aza), it is related in some of the earliest accounts, was near to term in her pregnancy and dreamt, prophetically that a dog carrying a lit torch (not a marijuana cigarette unfortunately) leapt from her womb to set the world aflame. A monk of the Abbey Santo Domingo de Silos called Dominic interpreted this dream for Jane, who decided to give her son that name. Establishing his first brotherhood of six followers in a donated house in the city of Toulouse, Dominic adapted his organisation to urban living and the promoting the education and pastoral care of people where they live rather than being cloistered communities apart. I don’t think I cannot in the future be tempted to look for pyromaniacal dogs in future artworks on this subject.