is one of Paula Rego’s pieces from her 1994 Dog Women
series of large scale works. Using pastels instead of paints, Rego’s portraits showed women in bestial positions like dogs – on all fours, howling at the moon, grooming or sleeping. Here, using her daughter as her model, Rego paints a bride in her wedding gown and bridal veil, lying 'belly-up in an attitude of surrender and ready to have her tummy tickled'. Rego chose to portray women as dogs to emphasise their physicality, saying ‘Women learn from those they are with; they are trained to do certain things, but they are also part animal.’
Date of work
Original: Pastel on paper on aluminium, 1200 × 1606 mm, Tate. Purchased 1995 © Paula Rego
Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1935 and has travelled between London and Portugal throughout her life. She studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and throughout her career she has revolutionised the way in which women are represented, playing a key role in redefining figurative art in the UK and internationally. Her early paintings in Portugal were semi-abstract, sometimes applied to violent or political subjects that revealed a love of story-telling that had been awakened in her as a child by folk-tales related by a great-aunt. She is drawn to subjects that are well known, and takes her imagery from sources as varied as Peter Pan and Mary Magdalene. Her work is part of many public collections, including Tate’s collection.