All Right… So She’s a Dog

MILAN — Stunned art historians announced today that their efforts to restore a priceless collection of 18th-century masterpieces have led to a shocking discovery:  Yelena Sylvania Potzi-Stroganoff, a Russian countess once believed to be the most beautiful woman in the court of Emperor Peter III, was in fact a real dog.


OK, here’s the real deal: The portrait on the right is example of custom pet portraiture by Valerie Leonard, and you can see this and more on her site.



  1. Maryenney says:

    Verryyyy cuuttteeeeeeee

  2. Maryenney says:


  3. Miss Jane says:

    Oh my. I want to have my dogs’ portraits done now!

  4. She was a b-tch!!!

  5. I’d love to have my guys done as Andy Warhol-inspired prints. I bet it costs a small fortune though. 🙂

  6. Trabb's Boy says:

    I could so go for this. Mine would look great in Mary Cassatt’s The Bath, with her tongue doing the cleaning. Or maybe as one of the Gleaners, with the field scattered with cracker crumbs or cheerios spilled from my children’s snack cups. The possibilities are endless!

  7. Empress Eugene Knockabollockov was a horse and once won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

  8. Ghostbusters quote?

    [Yeee-up. 🙂 –Mike]

  9. shahinrani says:

    what the

  10. Yes, but is she the Gate Keeper?

    “…the nice lady, who paid us in advance, before she became a dog.”

  11. OK, so she’s a dog.

  12. Coulda been worse… You could have found the woman of your dreams, and…. she’s a fish.

  13. @HonGlad: “Knockabollockov” *snort**snicker*

  14. Too much border decollietage for my taste.

    [ *snrk* – Ed.]

  15. On the Internet In the Hermitage, no one knows you’re a dog.

  16. But does she sleep above her cove? 4 FEET ABOVE HER COVER! 🙂

  17. Teeny Gozer says:

    And a tip of my hat for the excellent Ghostbusters reference!

    (My cat’s name was Gozer; he was tiny and adorable, but destructive.)

  18. *hovertext snort!*

  19. AuntieMame says:

    Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a dog, you say “YES”!

    [ 😆 Boastgusters – The Dyslexter’s Cut (now available on Lou-Bray™) – Ed.]

  20. @ Aquamarine: “border decollietage”? Bwahahahaha!!

  21. Yes, but those Russian winters are really …ruff.

  22. Peter III was never too quick on the uptake.

  23. cheesybird: lame, i know, but thanks for laughing!

  24. Apparently the lady really is a tramp.

  25. Solomon: Hello? How are you? Come on in. ‘
    Bumpkin (Figure from Constable’s “The Hay Wain”): No, no can’t stop, just passing by, actually.
    Solomon: Oh, where are you now?
    Bumpkin: Well may you ask. We just been moved in next to a room full of Brueghels … terrible bloody din. Skating all hours of the night. Anyway, I just dropped in to tell you there’s been a walk-out in the Impressionists.
    Solomon: Walk-out, eh?
    Bumpkin: Yeah. It started with the ‘Deieuner Sur L’Herbe’ lot, evidently they were moved away from above the radiator or something. Anyway, the Impressionists are all out. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy’s brought out the eighteenth-century English portraits, the Flemish School’s solid, and the German woodcuts are at a meeting now.
    Solomon: Right. Then I’ll get the Renaissance School out.
    Bumpkin: OK, meeting 4.30 – ‘Bridge at Aries’.
    Solomon: OK, cheerio – good luck, son.
    Bumpkin: OK.

    (The door shuts and we hear Solomon’s voice over.)
    Solomon: Right – everybody out.
    (We see various famous paintings whose characters suddenly disappear.)
    Voices: I’m off. I’m off. I’m off, dear. (etc.)

  26. Because one time, I turned into a dog and they helped me. Thank you.

  27. Snicker Theresa sounds more like an online meeting. Blip blip as people disconnect

  28. Oh look someone can use Photoshop. How rude to the original artists, making quite a buck off mostly their hard work. If the artist actually re-painted them, I could call her an artist with ethics and creativity. Oh well, ‘nother ‘art student’ turned art rehasher.

    [Oh wahh baww. 😛 – Ed.]

  29. *smack* Duh.

  30. @ PS, rehashing is the sincerest form of flattery.

  31. And for my next trick, I will paint a kitten in this lady’s bosom.

    [LOL! 😆 Sounds good to me… – Ed.]

  32. AuntieMame says:

    If the original painters were doing these pet portraits, you’d have to shoot them, because clearly they’re zombies.

  33. I have always wanted a painting of my beagle as Lord Nelson (’cause everybody knows beagles are navy dogs)

  34. Nuffs about fake boobs, nuffs about fake bags, and nuffs about fake art? I’m noticing a nuff theme lately.

    Misguided or not, I can understand nuffing when it comes from a place of concern for the welfare of an animal. But nuffing about stuff like this? Really? Seriously?

    C’mon. This is cute and fun. If you don’t think it’s worth the money she’s asking, don’t buy her work. Look at it here for free and revel in the cute. Or not. Whatever.

    [All I can say is, don’t feed the trolls, spoilers, griefers, nuffs, or anybody else who craves attention at any cost. Sooo not worth it. – Ed.]

  35. GreyandWhite Kitten says:

    Simon took my comment idea. Haha.
    This is very cute though and well done.

  36. PS – Using works in the public domain to make other works is a time-honored tradition, not illegal, and I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it called rude or unethical before. But I’ve seen people be offended by far less, especially on this site, so I respect your right to that opinion even while respectfully disagreeing.

  37. OK that doggy picture is just disturbing…ewww.

  38. freetomato says:

    In just the last two days, my old lady chocolate lab Jody (13 years old) has not really been able to get up on her own – I’ve had to give her a hand getting her caboose up. When she sat there this morning, looking all sad with her back legs out to one side, I was reminded of “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth.

    **sniffle**….I’m sorry but I am heartbroken by the impending inevitable…

  39. Point taken, Theo. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  40. LOL at Sarah F. #31! 😀

    good one.

    I think the painting’s rather dorky, but I understand you wacky dog lovers!

    I do love the lady’s dress though, for realz.

  41. Now people will be all writing in about how their cat has a cuter tiara…

  42. TUM there IS a cat in a tiara on the artist’s web site. One of those skinny kinda weird lookin sphinx cats.

  43. @freetomato Oh I’ so sad to hear that! It is really hard when a beloved pet is gets old and has to deal with the related illnesses.

  44. Free Tomato: Oh, I am so sorry–I can feel what you are going through. I love the image of “Christina’s World,” and I can so see that in a dog having trouble getting his caboose going. That puts such a poignant picture in my mind! I know it’s crappy when people try to make you feel better about the impending loss of a pet by telling you about how hard it was when THEY lost THEIR pet…..and so having said that, at the risk of doing it myself…..what you describe was my walker hound’s state towards the end of his life. But I’m so glad I was there to help him through the end. I’m sorry you are having to get ready for the “impending inevitable” …. I will risk saying that I think you will find lots of compassion here on CO as that approaches….. 😦

  45. She barks, she drools, she claws, she sleeps above her covers….four feet above her covers.

    EXCELLENT and subtle Ghostbusters quote! As a Paranormal Investigator I give this title an A+!

    I would LOVE to get a fancy portrait of my beloved Chewbacca done!

  46. Theadosia says:

    (((((freetomato))))) Yeah, you can see it coming like an oncoming express. It ain’t fun. Take care.

  47. Free tomato, yeah, been there, done that – it sucks. Sending lots of hugs your way.

  48. @Free Tomato – I am very sorry and truly understand as most of the CO folks do. I remember using a towel to boost up my old Golden’s caboose as well. I just rolled itup, slid it under her back end and used it to lift her up. It didn’t hurt her and was easier than trying to pick her up myself – she was a chunky gal. My sweet Buttercup was around for quite some time after we started employing this method, don’t give up hope. xo

  49. Von Zeppelin says:

    What about the Emperor Peter III, at whose court the Countess was such a big deal? Was he a dog too? If I remember, Sam Jaffe played this tsar as a greasy little creep in the Marlene Dietrich film “The Scarlett Empress.” Maybe he was some kind of overbred, effete lap dog.

  50. Von Zep, obviously one of those products of inbreeding . . .

  51. janet2buns says:

    King Ludwig I had some real bowsers in his Gallery of Beauty. Yikes! I guess the concept of beauty really does change over the years.

  52. Hey, even ‘shopped art is still….art! I love it; detailed and amazing work and so fun to see how another person sees a pet…and recalling the nuffer’s nuffing about people dressing up their pets, how can this be anything but funny and cute and silly and weird and playful? Go fer it, CO!

  53. I adore ze furry décolletage.

  54. Okay, does it speak ill of me if I prefer the doggie portrait?

    And sending hugs your way, freetomato. Please let us know how you both are doing in the weeks to come.

  55. Freetomato, please know my heart is with you. Now it’s your turn to be strong and take care of Jody as she’s taken care of you all these years. Feel free to blubber and cry with us – you won’t be alone in your grief. :hug:

  56. Sending many many lovebeams to freetomato. Come here anytime for hugs.

    While we are nuffing, I also wish to nuff fifes, fiefs, fluffernutter, kerfulffles and fe-fi-fo-fum.

    This portrait is wicked cool. Man, my Daisy would look awesome as Queen Elizabeth I since she rules with a similar iron fist..paw?

  57. Von Zeppelin says:

    Freemato, I’ve been there a few years ago with my dear, dear old Goldie (lab-Great Pyrenees mix). As much as it will hurt, you will know what is best for your good friend. She will understand that you love her to the end and beyond. You and Jody will be in my heart today.

  58. KatieZientek says:

    Smells like barbecued dog hair.

  59. I love it! 🙂

  60. Well that was all very interesting.
    For those who ‘get it’, thanks for the kind words.
    I LOVE making these portraits.
    If you wander around my website you will find that I do many other things but these portraits are such a challenge.
    In an effort to make them seamless, I can spend over a week on one (more time, perhaps, than a painter might ) but most people seem to think that if it’s done in a computer its cheating.
    To the people who think I’m cleaning up! Oh I wish I was! However I have worked out that I earn about $9 -$11 dollars an hour for a custom portrait. It’s fun to do the research, to find the right picture for the personality of the sitter. It is almost a passion to make the image as perfect as possible. But, with one or two commisions a month it is not even close to making a living. Go to and look around.
    I’m not an ‘on line formula business’. I am an artist who loves what she does.
    Talk to me. I can bend a little!

  61. @ valerie – ignore the nuffers. your work is wonderful & awesome!
    unfortunately, I have 11 cats and would never be able to pick just one! >^..^<

  62. snorglepup says:

    Valerie, Love your work. The dogs look better than the originals!

  63. Taking Redonkulousness to a whole new level.

  64. Dear Valerie.. Oh I am glad you posted I have been wanting to tell you what an amazing job you did on this piucture…. getting the paws placed perfectly and fur over the gown and the size of the head in proprtion to the body

    I think your work is A+

  65. LOL Sarah F!!!!! that was awesome 😀

    And gentle hugs to freetomato and Jody pup…

  66. @Feetomato Tears for you My dear.. I just had to usher my beloved Magneato over the Rainbow bridge after a valient fight for several weeks…

    Tenderest thought going to you and your puppy!

  67. KittyAdventures: I love that story. I love thinking about all the creatures that will be waiting for me on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge! And thinking about them over there now, playing happily….. 🙂

  68. Tinnabeans56 says:

    wow, i guess

  69. Bahaha. That’s hilarious. I would love to have her above my bathtub x3

    Oh & btw, Photoshop is in no way cheating or easier than any other art medium. Photoshop and similar digital drawing programs are a separate entity from traditional art that require time to learn and have their own quirks and tricks, just like any medium. In fact, lots of people find it harder since the natural movements of a hand or utensil are somewhat lost in the transition to digital media. Even experienced artists, even with a tablet, its necessary in most cases to completely relearn your technique.
    Just my 2c

  70. Just for the record, the Countess’ name was Anna Alexeevna Tchernysheva (at least the one in that painting), not Yelena Sylvania Potzi-Stroganoff. I know the point is the dog, not the chick, but…hey.

  71. FUUNY !!!