Posted by Robert Edler
ATTACHMENT — 1829 — Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
Edwin Landseer was a nineteenth century English artist primarily known for his paintings of animals … in particular dogs in the service of humanity. He was also the sculptor who created the four 20-foot long lions that surround NELSON’S COLUMN in Trafalgar Square.
But getting back to the painting I always visit at the Saint Louis museum, ATTACHMENT depicts the death of another artist named Charles Gough. Gough was an artist of the early romantic movement in England, and while visiting the Lake District in Cumbria in 1805 he decided to go hiking with his dog Foxie, but without a guide. He was never again seen alive.
Three months later a shepherd heard a dog barking and discovered Foxie beside Gough’s body. In his lifetime Gough had never achieved a lot of fame … however, in death he became an icon of the movement to both artists and writers. The story of Gough and Foxie was retold in poems written by Sir Walter Scott and William Wordsworth, and Landseer commemorated it in his painting.
While I had seen the lions in Trafalgar Square when I visited London, I never realized that the man who created them was the man who had painted my favorite painting back in Saint Louis.
So why do I always stop to study the painting when I visit the museum. I can’t give you a logical reason for the attraction. But, perhaps, instead of Foxie, I’m seeing my own Renee who in many ways is my own protector and guardian. I guess we have an attachment, too