French, 1686 – 1755
The Dog Who Carried the Dinner Basket for his Master, Illustration for La Fontaine’s Fables, 1732
black and gray wash and white gouache on blue paper
Ackland Fund, 81.13.1
Jean-Baptiste Oudry was a French painter, engraver and designer of tapestries during the eighteenth century. Oudry became famous for his works depicting naturalistic animals and hunting scenes. The Dog Who Carried the Dinner Basket for His Master is a picturesque drawing of two fighting dogs made on blue paper, which became the guide source for an engraving used as an illustration for the fable of the same name from Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables. This image not only serves the fable’s story but also represents the theme of nature versus nurture, a topic often debated in eighteenth-century French society.