This Little Dog

My header is a marble doggie from a sepulchre in the Cathedral of Burgos, in Spain.
He lies on the robe of his marble mistress in the chapel of the Condestables (a title with no translation that I know of). She was also the Duchess of Frías. I took the picture myself (against the rules). No one seemed to notice the little lapdog, and I wanted to show him to everyone. The sculptor’s name was Felipe Vigarny.
The Condestables and the doggie have been lying there since 1534.

Now I found this photo of the entire tomb.

24 Responses to This Little Dog

  1. Moonbeam McQueen – Writer, blogger, storyteller. Born in a circus tent, raised by gypsies, schooled by ninjas.
    moonbeammcqueen says:

    I love this header! The picture is beautiful, and the layout looks great– is this the one you’ve decided on for now?

  2. 100swallows says:

    Thanks, moonbeam. I’m glad you like it. Yes, this will have to do for now. I wanted to use one of my own drawings but there was always some hitch about the color or the writing.

  3. Pied
    -30- says:

    What an exquisite little (?) dog! Can you give us some idea of its actual size?

  4. 100swallows says:

    As I remember them,the marble Condestables were life-size–maybe slightly less. And the dog was the size of a real curled-up lapdog–perhaps 22 or 23 cms. I’m glad you like it, 30.

  5. zeladoniac – Debby Kaspari travels the world with sketchbook and binoculars, drawing and painting in wild and not-so-wild landscapes. Norman, Oklahoma is her home base, and she lives there with her tropical ecologist husband and a mackerel tabby named Gizmo.
    zeladoniac says:

    To think of having your favorite pet curled up on your lap for all eternity- I get choked up thinking about it. What a beautiful image!

  6. erikatakacs – Canada – I am a figurative sculptor working in paper pulp.
    erikatakacs says:

    What an adorable little thing! The work of a great sculptor I would think. Love all the detail, carved with sensitivity. Great choice, Swallows.

  7. 100swallows says:

    Thanks, erika. I’d like to go back to Burgos and see him again. They sell postcards of the Cathedral treasure, the old paintings, and El Cid’s coffin (he’s buried there). But no photographer seems to have discovered this little dog. Odd, no?

  8. stella35 says:

    It’s a cute little dog, but I would rather have my cat around if there were a choice. I think however the artist only put the little dog there to soften the idea of death and make the whole thing look less somber.

  9. very nice & cute.

    best regards +


  10. Choco_Lotte says:

    Do you have any idea how old is it?

  11. Catdog says:

    Hello everybody, I don´t know who Michelangelo and Leonardo da vinci are and I don´t know what Barock, renässans and rokoto means!!!!!! can someone help me now! please!

  12. june981
    June McEwan says:

    You probably know all about the significance of dogs in art, but for the benefit of some readers, its interesting to see the wee dog curled up alongside the male figure.(Small ‘lap’ dogs belonged to women and would often be kept under their skirts to help the lady stay warm). In art they represent faithfulness usually depicted alongside a ‘good wife’.e.g the Arnolfini marriage. Just from the scene, I would guess it represents the mans faithfulness in death, as in life. The whole scene is both sweet and lovely. The departed are happy now they are together. She probably died 1st, leaving the dog and master, now they are all reunited.

    • 100swallows says:

      June: Thanks. Perhaps I misunderstood: here the little dog lies on the robe of the lady. I always thought the dog was just itself, the lady’s lapdog that she loved. But maybe there was some symbolism intended.

  13. Jasmine says:

    This is a very beautiful artwork it is positively magnificent!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Studio Blue Sea – Creative living.
    studiobluesea says:

    We love your blog and are passing on the ONE LOVELY BLOG award to you. It’s a great way to acknowledge the time and effort involved in creating a fabulous blog. We look forward to knowing 7 things about you and being introduced to some of your favourite sites. For more info please visit

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    • 100swallows says:

      Studiobluesea: I thank you for the nomination but I have to decline the invitation to participate, as I have in the case of other awards. I have surely enjoyed reading many of your posts and those “seven curious things”. And it was also fun to explore your favorite blogs. Good luck to you and the other prize winners.
      Un saludo from 100swallows

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  16. Julie says:

    Is the general public allowed to see such a stunning piece of work.? If not I think that is a travesty. I was very fortunate many many years ago to obtain a 17 th century antique stain glass window from a chapel in France. Since then I have opened my house to whom ever would like to see this masterpiece. I think the general public should be allowed to see works of art and not only the rich.
    Some of our greatest artisans were everyday people until they died and the world recognized their brilllance.

    • 100swallows says:

      Julie: Thanks. Yes, the doggie is part of a marble sepulcher in the Cathedral of Burgos, Spain, and it is open to the public for an entrance fee. But like most cathedrals and most museums, they don’t allow photos. There are good post-cards for sale in the shop but I’ve never seen one of this little fellow. I always meant to write them and tell them to take one.

  17. Margaret says:

    It is an exquisite sculpture, thank you for bringing it to our attention. Re the dog as a symbol of fidelity, when you see them at the feet of nobles in English Churches I was always told that this meant that the knight died at home and not on crusade or at war. I think that in this case the dog is symbolises her fidelity and faithfulness, as it is on a tomb it might be not just her faithfulness to her husband but also to her Christian faith that the dog symbolises. I think that it is also probably a portrait of her dog.

    • 100swallows says:

      Margaret: Thanks. I have heard of that conventional symbolism of dogs at the feet of knights on their tombs but I think you are right in supposing that this little dog was more than a symbol. It does look like a portrait.

  18. John1 Steff says:

    This is the tomb of the famous El Cind and the “marble mistress” is his famous too wife Ximena!

    • 100swallows says:

      John1 Steff: No, John, El Cid and his wife are indeed buried in the Burgos Cathedral but this tomb belongs to the Condestables, who lie in another chapel there. The whole church is well worth a visit, also from the outside.

  19. John says:

    The dog must have been very important to couple, as to have it sculpted into their tomb!

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