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Ronan the Pug (Erin) Painting Analysis


Art is a universal language that can be understood by people across every divide. Art is a journey to self discovery. Through art even the voiceless have the chance to express them. As one of the greatest artists put it “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I could not say any other way – things I had no word for” (Georgia O’Keeffe) Every piece of art has a story to tell. An analysis of ‘Ronan the pug’ (Erin),  a painting more famous for its flaws than the perfections that we have come to associate with famous paintings (Monalisa comes to mind) will serve as an eye opener on the powerful language that is art. It will teach us that despite the obvious difference in quality and fame. Ronan the pug just like Monalisa has a story. A story only the artistic minds can tell.

Personal perspective

After a quick peek on the portrait, the impression one gets is that of a poor representation of art. But after a deep look on Ronan the pug. The beatific expression on Ronan’s face shows the state of happiness. This expression shows that the pet and its owner had a deep affection towards each other.

Ronan the Pug (Erin) Painting Analysis

Historical perspective

Ronan the pug is a portrait of a pet dog produced by its owner on a canvas board. This artwork shows the love that the artist had for his dog. The artist produces the paint using oil paint and the color used produces the rich fur the dog had. The artwork looks like it has been done in much hurry such that the painter fails to notice the anatomy of the dog’s canine. However, the painter brings out the playfulness of the dog in the painting.

Technical perspective

The painting skill level of the artist is put into question. The paint appears to have been roughly applied on the canvas. The dental formula of Ronan is uneven suggesting that the painting was done in a hurried manner. There is asymmetry in the body appearance of Ronan and even the forelimbs are not visible.

Ethical perspective

Even though the artist does not have the painting mastery put into this painting. He shows the courageous nature of the artist and his strong will. It gives the young people the impetus to try artistic things.Ronan the Pug painting shows the loving nature of a person towards his pet. His effort to paint his dog brings the caring nature of humans towards animals.

Cultural perspective

The artist through the portrait Ronan the Pug shows the historical relationship between man and dog. It certifies the age old sayings ‘man’s best friend’ that suggests dogs have always been loyal to humans,The red color used in the painting is a sign of danger. It shows that the man could go to any extent just to protect his pet. The same applies to the dog because they always have the tendency to protect their owners.The white background is a sign of peace. In essence, the artist is giving a suggestion that dogs are naturally peaceful animals and only react when threatened by externalities.

Critical perspective

Asymmetry typifies the whole portrait; Rothbeg did not put much emphasis on making Ronan’s body uniform. The dogs dental formula is distorted and the limbs are not of the same size.The painting has no focal point; the artist was too casual in this painting. He failed to concentrate his attention on the dog failing to assert Ronan as the focal point of the painting.


“Painting is a poetry that is rather seen rather than felt and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen” (Leonardo da Vinci). Ronan the Pug summarises the relationship between Rothbeg and his pet dog. The artist uses utmost simplicity in this painting but still manages to share his story. Ronan the pug may not be one the fancy paintings that are so popular but it still manages to achieve the main objective of painting as an art by allowing the author to share a story.

Works Cited
  • Erin, R. (n.d.). poor traits. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from museumofbadart.org: https://www.museumofbadart.org/coll8/image04.php

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