This little piggy liked.... being the subject of artistic expression!
January 13, 2019 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Today in 1625, Jan Brueghel died. Before that, he liked to paint guinea pigs.

He produced at least five paintings with guinea pigs in them (and since they are social, that's at least 10 guinea pigs painted!)

Other instances of guinea pigs in art:
Thomas Gaugain shows them as part of a family scene in an etching.

Williams James Muller was less successful in capturing the piggy's natural cuteness

And an annonymous painter in the Elizabethan era captured a very nice likeness of three children and their pet guinea pig

Beatrix Potter later captured the Abyssinian guinea pigs at work in the garden.
posted by vespabelle (13 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Peegs! Thank you, vespabelle. I love to see paintings of companion animals outside the common range of household pets, especially small mammals, double-especially when painted by an artist who had some actual experience of their behavior, manner, etc.

Guinea pigs also have the advantage (in the U.S., at least) of being almost exclusively kept as pets. I'm a rabbit person, and when I go to look at rabbit paintings, <10% are companion animals -- otherwise livestock, quarry, or simply wild.
posted by cupcakeninja at 11:11 AM on January 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Ahem. This is relevant to my interests. Thank you!
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:46 AM on January 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Nice post! Two months ago; family here got a travelling guinea pig via FB; we are it's third owners. Cage (a nice Living World 2'x3'x2' size) and all the stuff for it too. It is a good bit of fun (as I am sure it was for it's previous owners); and when we have had our time with it; looking forward to vetting it out to its next owners. Wheee wheee hwweeeeeee! t/y.
posted by Afghan Stan at 11:50 AM on January 13, 2019

Peeeeegs! This post delights me.
posted by sarcasticah at 12:08 PM on January 13, 2019

The first ever painting of a guinea pig may have been uncovered by the National Portrait Gallery.... It is possibly the earliest-known depiction of this animal in a portrait.

yikes, what lazy reporting, it's the earliest known european depiction.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

We visited the Bolivian highlands archaeological site of Tiwanaku last week and saw a wild week-week-week amongst the ruins! It was quite shy and did not want to pose for pictures, let alone a portrait in oil.
posted by drlith at 1:45 PM on January 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Warning: do not google "guinea pig painting" and browse the images, you’ll be lost for hours...
posted by bitteschoen at 1:47 PM on January 13, 2019

The Müller guinea pig looks like it might attack, which is pretty rare....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:08 PM on January 13, 2019

This is exactly what I come to Metafilter for, thank you.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:46 PM on January 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

All the (guinea) pigs, all lined up!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:06 PM on January 13, 2019

This is delightful. We have just acquired a guinea pig because my younger son has visited the piggies in his summertime preschool class every day since he moved to the pre-K class. That piggy died, a new piggy was acquired who proved to be pregnant, and one of her babies went to a different preschool class under the wing of a teacher. That teacher has left and the remaining teacher did not want a classroom cavy, so custody of the pig was offered to us as of a week or two ago, I suppose on the basis of my kiddo's devotion. I never had any interest at all in rodent pets as a child, but now I'm delighted by portly little Frosty and organizing a bigger cage and Floor Time.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:30 PM on January 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

This is entirely excellent, thank you vespabelle.
posted by Otto the Magnificent at 11:36 PM on January 13, 2019

[this is good]
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:23 AM on January 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

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