Push
oil on panel, 72x100 cm (28x39 inches)

History of the “black dog” metaphor and its origins fray where concepts of “darkness” mingle with the fear of melancholy, disease, and death. For example, in English folklore (16th century) the black dog is associated with the devil but its associations with depression can be found in the poetry of the Roman poet Horace (c. 40BC) and Appollonius (c. 1st century AD). Furthermore, there is the role of ancient mythology. 

The association between the dog and the supernatural, which sees the Black Dog appearing as one of the Devil’s guises, a witch’s familiar, as guardian or gate-keeper of the world of the dead, … is both cross-cultural and ancient, a staple of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Middle-Eastern and Norse mythologies. In a contemporary sense, this representation of the Black Dog emerges in literature in forms such as Goethe’s Mephistopheles, or Conan Doyle’s Hounds of the Baskervilles. (from the text of Megan McKinlay)