Pet Renaissance Paintings: Who Started Making These?

When researching unique, pet related gifts, one of the first ideas that pops up is having a custom pet renaissance painting commissioned of the pet. After “oohing” and “awing” over how adorable the paintings are, people often wonder where the original idea came from. Who started making pet renaissance paintings, and why? We’re here to answer all of those questions, and give you lots more information about these paintings as a whole. We’ll also discuss where we think the future of pet renaissance paintings is going!

What Is Renaissance Art?

So, what exactly is renaissance art in the first place? Many companies, like Crown & Paw, that create these custom works of art didn’t start out with the idea out of the blue. Their desire to turn pets into renaissance paintings is a side effect of the passion that they already had for the historical art form and for art itself. 

Most of the time, that passion is sparked with just a simple trip to a museum. Places like the Riijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and world famous Louvre in Paris have all been cited as the inspiration for creating pet renaissance paintings. You can really see the comparison when looking at “Isabel de Valois holding a Portrait of Philip II” by Italian renaissance painter Sofonisba Anguissola (on display at the Museo de Prado in Madrid, Spain) and The Dame. It’s almost uncanny.

But what exactly is renaissance art?

By definition, renaissance art (and art here refers not only to paintings but also to sculpture and other decorative arts) was recognized as being its own, distinct style in Italy around 1400. Renaissance literally means “rebirth,” and refers to the way the style was “born” from the previously popular Classical antiquity art period. 

What set the art created during this period apart from other styles is the focus on realism and humanism, and painting more anatomically correct bodies. The artists who painted it were really coming into their own, and the art created during this period is some of the most recognizable stylistically (like the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci). 

That focus on realism also extended into the way that they painted animals, specifically dogs. In fact, dogs were fairly commonly found in renaissance paintings, featured as a companion for both the upper and the lower classes. It was a natural jump from there. 

Why Create Pet Renaissance Paintings?

With the inspiration behind why most pet portrait artists have chosen the renaissance period, the next question is why pets?

There really is a simple answer. We love them.

Our pets are our families, our best friends. They are so incredibly important to us that we wanted to include them in every single thing that we do. For the more creative types who aren’t content with simply having a picture of them hung on the wall, pet renaissance paintings provide a way to showcase their pet while using a more classical artform. And really, it’s just a fun way to combine two things that people really enjoy - pets and art. For art lovers especially, pet renaissance paintings really knock it out of the park.

People who create pet renaissance paintings don’t do it for money or recognition. They do it because they love the art form, and they want to create art that makes other people happy. These paintings really make people happy, at the end of the day, and isn’t that really what creating art is all about? We think so. Just look at The Young King or The Queen and tell us it doesn’t make you smile, at least a little bit. The paintings are pure joy. 

Why Should You Have a Pet Renaissance Painting Created For Your Pet? 

While the reasons that so many people have chosen to have a pet renaissance painting commissioned varies person to person, there are a few, more common reasons that are cited. If you order a painting, feel free to let the company know the inspiration behind it. Most love to hear the story behind the piece, as it gives the creation of the artwork context and meaning. 

  • Commissioning a painting to memorialize a pet. Pet paintings, in general, are a great way to honor and memorialize a passed away pet. Although we don’t like to think about it, we tend to outlive our pets. Having a pet painted in a way that shows them as regal, looking on elegantly and protectively from above the mantle or in an area in the home that the pet frequented allows owners to turn their loss into something a little more positive and a little less painful. It gives them a chance to see their pets face regularly and smile, instead of getting caught in the grief and pain that often comes with these losses. 
  • Commissioning a painting to give as a gift. Pet paintings also make an incredible gift, both for other members of the household or for loved ones who have been through their own recent pet loss. It’s definitely an unexpected gift, which makes for the best, most genuine reactions. The best part is, unlike a lot of custom gifts, it only requires that you take a “headshot” of the pet. This can definitely be done covertly, and your giftee will be none the wiser. 
  • Commissioning a painting to celebrate the bond. Some people buy pet paintings just because. You don’t need a reason to buy one, either for yourself or a loved one. Sometimes you just do it because they’re unique and adorable and you love your pet. There’s nothing wrong with a little splurge every now and again. It’s a fun piece of artwork to hang in your house, and will absolutely be a cherished piece of your family history in the future. 

What is the Future of Pet Painting?

While pet painting is still in its infancy as an artform, it has already come a long way and we think it will definitely be around for a long time to come. That’s why we believe in it so much!

One of the newer trends in custom pet paintings has actually moved away from the more traditional, renaissance style portraits and branched out into other styles. People loved the concept so much that they wanted to be able to feature their pets in different outfits and genres. Customization is the name of the game. A great example of this is some of the more up-to-date pop culture references, like the “Slyfurrin.” The concept is the same, but the context is different. It really opens up options for people who would love to get their pet painted but aren’t necessarily in love with renaissance art.

And the options continue to explode - sports players (The Ice Hockey Player, The Baseball Player, and The Football Player are just a few of the ones we’ve created), careers (our favorites are The Astronaut and the The Doctor) and even traditional “nerd” culture references (like The Trekkie and The Spiderpet) are just some of the more popular, up and coming categories.

While it’s unknown who originally started making pet renaissance paintings, the art form has grown immensely over the past few years. There are many options to choose from, so make sure that you go with one of the leaders in the industry, like Crown & Paw, who has been consistently making pet renaissance art for thousands of happy clients. We promise that you’ll love the results.