|The Dog, 1819-23, oil mural transferred to canvas, 132 x 79 cm, Prado|
Appearing to sink into the sand behind a dune, a dog, only its head showing above the surface, pleads desperately with its eyes, gazing up ominously. Filled with human emotion the animal is the epitome of helplessness, lost and alone, silent in its agony.
The empty space above, minimal, a precursor to abstraction (Rothko before Rothko), further emphasises the fate of the animal, and, it its sublimity, the work is a powerful comment on the human condition. Have we not all been where this simply but effectively painted dog is, at some point in our lives?