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The Cover
August 6, 2003

Swan Attacked by a Dog

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(5):571. doi:10.1001/jama.290.5.571

Before the 17th century, animals in Western art appeared usually as secondary objects, a means of enhancing the principal theme of the work: horses, for example, would be necessary in a battle scene, a miniature cow might be needed to balance a landscape; a puppy could highlight the appeal of a child, a rearing steed lent an emperor his power. Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters, on the other hand, turned to the mundane and the familiar; just as they made flowers, food, barrooms, and bedrooms their principal subjects, so also they did the same for animals. Paulus Potter's monumental cows, for example, are familiar images (JAMA cover, July 19, 2000). The 18th century saw the focus of animal painting move to France, where the genre was dominated by two painters: Desportes during the first half of the century, and Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) during the second half (JAMA cover, December 15, 1999). English painters, notably Edwin Landseer and George Stubbs, owned the 19th century, while the entire 20th century was expressed by a single work: the explosive Guernica, into which Picasso was able to compress all the horrors and violence of its wars.

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