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Two large dogs approach a man lying unconscious and mostly buried in the snow in this horizontal painting. The head of the man comes toward us, at the lower center of the composition, and the dogs are close to us. In the center of the painting, a large tan and white dog has short, glossy fur and floppy ears, and its jowly mouth hangs open with the pink tongue visible. It paws at the snow partially covering most of the body of the man, who wears an olive-green coat with a fur collar and white shirt. The dog looks up to our right, and its body and white-tipped tail recede diagonally into the picture to the left. There is a red blanket with black edging over the dog’s back, and the hound wears a wide, fur-lined silver collar ornamented with metalwork lions and bells. The second dog, a dark brown brindle color, sits to the immediate left of the first dog. It gazes down at the prone person and bends its head down to lick a bare pale, pink hand that protrudes from under the snow. The brindle dog wears a small barrel around its neck on a brown buckled leather collar. The man’s dark brown hair falls over the snow. His pale gray face is upward, and his shoulders are visible while his arms splay out, and the rest of his body, extending into the picture, is covered with snow. The man’s eyes are closed. His right hand, in a tan leather glove, reaches toward us from the snow, while a green velvet cap with a red ribbon lies under the hand. The scene is enclosed by large, angular, steel and blue-gray boulders and rock formations, with two craggy pine trees above. Beyond lies a mountain landscape with a V-shaped pass at the center top framed by the steep ascent of jagged, snowy hillsides and a sliver of blue sky. A blocky stone building is nestled in among the crags to our right. On a path leading from the building, three bearded men wearing black caps and robes hurry toward the dogs. The nearest of them holds up a staff with a cross on the top and waves or signals to the men farther back along the path.

Sir Edwin Landseer, Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler, 1820, oil on canvas, Patrons' Permanent Fund, 2019.120.1

Canceled—In Depth: “Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler” by Sir Edwin Landseer

Focus: The Collection

  • Friday, March 20, 2020
  • 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.
  • West Building, Main Floor - Rotunda
  • Gallery Talks
  • In-person

Sir Edwin Landseer was a renowned 19th-century British painter of animals—in particular, horses, dogs, and stags. The Gallery has acquired Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler, Landseer's first masterpiece and the work that helped establish his reputation. David Gariff discusses this important new acquisition.

David Gariff, lecturer