Lap Dog
© the Artist / Bridgeman Art Library. All rights reserved.

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Lap Dog about 1973
  • Scottish Art
This painting explores themes of carnal desire, death and religion, using animals in a symbolic manner. The central female figure is blinded by the sheep mask she wears - the sheep representing self-sacrifice in the Christian tradition. Normally a symbol of marital fidelity, a dog sits in a provocative and phallic position on her lap. Displaying herself openly, the woman is watched by a male figure on the left, who is a thinly-veiled portrait of the artist. The ghostly figure is dressed in deathly black and white and is accompanied by a phallic-looking monkey, the symbol of both lust and art. The relationship between the male and female figures is set against the religious imagery of the ladder and fish-head in the top right of the picture.

Glossary Open


Relating to or resembling a phallus, the representation of the male sexual organs as embodying power.



  • Acc. No. GMA 2990
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 184.90 x 164.90 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1986