Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cats in Art: Catfight in a Pantry (de Vos)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  

This is the second of three posts featuring some art from Paul de Vos.




Image credit Museo del Prado, Catfight in a Pantry (alternatively called Cats Fighting in a Larder), Paul de Vos, ca 1630, oil on canvas, 46" x 70", held by Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain.


Per the Prado web site:

With the owners or house servants away, the animals sneak into the larder, giving free rein to their instincts. This leads to a fight. Scenes of animal fights in domestic settings were customary in mid-seventeenth-century Flemish painting. They were also frequent in the literature of proverbs, where they were interpreted as moral allusions to the abandonment of responsibilities and their consequences. Paul de Vos followed in the footsteps of his brother-in-law, Frans Snyders (1579-1657), making identical still lifes with animals and even repeating the compositional schemes and models, but with a more delicate touché and warmer shading. This type of scene was very successful among collectors of that time and was repeated on innumerable occasions. 

Four cats already in the fray, with three more ready to hop in.  About all I can say is that these are very bad cats.  Certainly NOT at all like my kitties!

As in my last week's de Vos post (and as I have previously observed with numerous other artists), de Vos is really good at capturing the essence of catness.  


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cats in Art: Still Life With Game and Lobster (de Vos)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  

Today and the next couple weeks I'll feature some art from Paul de Vos.



Image credit The State Hermitage MuseumStill Life With Game and Lobster, Pauwel (Paul) de Vos, ca 1610, oil on canvas, 47" x 71", held by The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

And the obligatory close-up of the scairdy (is that spelled right?) cat in the center foreground:



And here's a Gotcha, noted by yours truly.  I now consider myself an amateur art historian based upon me doing my weekly Cats in Art post for over 6 years now.  

Here's the error: Bugler's book attributes this image to the Flemish artist Frans Snyders, which is a mistake. A diligent search of the web confirms the painter as Pauwel (Paul) de Vos.  While Frans Snyders did do many still life paintings, including one long-windedly entitled Still Life with Game Suspended on Hooks, a Lobster on a Porcelain Plate and a Basket of Grapes, Apples, Plums and Other Fruit on a Partly Draped Table with Two Monkeys (link is here) he did not paint the image with the kitty above.  It was definitely painted by Paul de Vos...although I came to find out that de Vos and Snyders were brothers-in-law!  Perhaps they even painted together in the same studio.

I can only assume that when Bulger assembled the art for her book, the presence of the words "game" and "lobster" in Snyders' title above threw her off.

Just check out this page (you'll need to scroll down to the "S" paintings) for nearly a score of other Snyders paintings beginning with the words "Still Life...." in the title and note the similarities.  This must have been one of the schools of painting during the time when both artists were active in the 1600s.

Back to the painting itself.  Bugler tells us: 
This tempting array of game and fish is enough to whet the appetite of any domestic animal.  The dog and cat have made their stealthy advances on the display, but have encountered each other, and it looks as the though the dog is about to gain the upper hand in the confrontation.

My take?  Yes, the dog has prevailed...in this case.  But in the long run, of course cats rule!  Now that that's out of the way, regarding this image, the poor kitty has been psyched out, big time.  But if they would agree to peaceful co-existence, there's plenty of food for everyone.  Just share, you guys.

Also, de Vos has well captured the essence of scared catness.  He must have had kitties to have painted this one so well: the ears, the eyes, the tail, the overall posture.

And another gem from the Hermitage web page, regarding the provenance of this painting:


Acquisition date: Transferred to the Hermitage from the collection of Catherine the Great in 1772

Is that cool, or what?  Catherine the Great actually owned this de Vos painting.  It was in her house.  She saw it, hopefully admired it, and safely passed it along to posterity.  Whatever else one might stay about CTG, this was a good thing!

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cats in Art: Singeree in Een Wachtpost (Teniers)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.

This is the second of two images from Abraham Teniers.



Image credit Rijksmuseum, Singeree in Een Wachtpost, Abraham Teniers, ca 1650, engraving, approx 30" x 20", held by Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Holland.


And the close-up of the unfortunate kitty in the doorway on the right side:



The Flemish title of the work is explained via Wikipedia:
Abraham Teniers contributed to the spread of the genre of the 'monkey scene', also called 'singerie' (a word, which in French means a 'comical grimace, behaviour or trick'). Comical scenes with monkeys appearing in human attire and a human environment are a pictorial genre that was initiated in Flemish painting in the 16th century and was subsequently further developed in the 17th century. 

The poor cat is being perp-walked by a bunch of monkeys.  The alleged crime? We know not.  Perhaps the cat was up on the table, was eating house plants on the mantle, or unmercifully pestered the other cats in the household.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Busy Here at Mister Tristan

Big goings on here with the fam, so blogging will take a back seat in May.  Life trumps blogging, always!.

I have my regular Sunday feature, Cats in Art, all queued up to run every week, but I don't expect to do any other posting for several weeks.

Please be patient!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cats in Art: A Barber's Shop With Monkeys and Cats (Teniers)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.

This will be the first of two images from Abraham Teniers.



Image credit WikiGalleryA Barber's Shop With Monkeys and Cats, Abraham Teniers, 1647, oil on canvas, size unspecified, held by Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

This interesting painting from the middle 1600s is kinda reminiscent of today's paintings of dogs or cats sitting around playing cards and smoking cigars: a lighthearted attempt to get people to laugh.  I guess things were little different 400 years ago.

I count 6 cats and 8 monkeys in this image.  The viewer's eye is drawn first to the vain kitty front and center, who is peering with admiration at its own image in the mirror.

I personally like the dashing cat entering back at the left doorway, with its raking hat and red cloak.

And although my maxim is "Never trust a monkey," this crew of barbers and beauticians seems harmless enough.  At least Teniers has not painted any of the monkeys with any diabolical looks.  They truly seem there just to make the kitties look sharp.

Note that Abraham's brother David Teniers the Younger has been featured here at Mister Tristan three times.  You may want to click over and take a peek at The Alchemist, Cat Tended to by an Old Woman, and Twelfth Night.  


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cats in Art: The Owl and the Pussycat (Blake)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.



Image credit Art UK, The Owl and the Pussycat, Peter Blake, 1983, tempera on hardboard, 10" x 12", held by Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol.

Bugler tells us:

The unlikely pair are shown sailing away "to the land where the bong-tree grows," their essential supplies of honey and money stashed beside them...Peter Blake rose to fame in the late 1950s as a key figure in the Pop Art movement.  Much of his imagery has been drawn from popular cultures and advertisements, and it has often included collaged elements.

The cat seems quite focused, but not worried.  The distant looks in his/her eyes seems to imply awareness and wisdom of what is to come, but not any fear.  Likewise the owl seems ready, too, for whatever the journey may bring.

Another note.  Some of the images I found of The Owl and the Pussycat were literally quite dark.  This image seems to show best the vibrant colors of Blake's original.


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Friday, April 29, 2016

Grow Where You are Planted

Was harvesting some wood from a huge limb that had broken out of an old black locust tree nearby, when I saw this little plant:

[image credit Gary]

Somehow a seed blew into this recess, or was dropped there by a critter, and the plant took hold.

Not to be trite, but I am reminded of such positive attributes as tenacity, optimism, and courage.  I guess the take-away is to grow where you are planted, and grow well.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tales From the Perimeter: More on That DNF

Perimeter meaning the 6 mile patrol road inside the fence of the military installation on which I formerly worked, where some half a dozen of us comprise a pool of running “talent” and strive to show up for a noontime run a couple times a week if we can escape our desks. We share a lot and these guys are one of the core pillars of my sanity.

It's been far too long since I put up a Tales From the Perimeter post, but since I retired my running frequency with the group has plummeted.  At any rate, though, I'm sure our next run will feature my recent email to the group as a discussion topic:


Guys,

Must have been a Freudian slip, but I failed to provide results for the Ironmaster’s Challenge 50K this past Sunday that I ran with my buddy JS.  Web site is http://www.ironmasterschallenge.com 

JS ran quite well and was content to stick with me thru Mile 20.  He finished in a decent time, despite a slow start due to my drag.   

Mile 20 at about 5 1/2 hours is where I dropped out (DNF meaning, of course, Did Not Finish).  I had taken 3 hard falls—which is pretty uncharacteristic of me—and I just felt out of gas.  Totally.  The falls banged up various body parts, to include knee, elbow, hand, shoulder, ribs, and a pair of solid shots to the left side of my head (apparently I’m a "left-roller" when I bite the dust).  But mostly I was really gun-shy that the next fall when it inevitably happened would really bugger me up, so I figured it was time to bid adios to those happy trails.  It wasn’t safe and it just wasn’t fun anymore.

Not a stellar day in terms of results, but JS and I did spend some quality hours together.  Here on Thursday, my body still aches: slight limp due to the knee, and the side of my head is still tender to the touch.

A word to the wise: beware of under-training.  You can only pull a big performance--based solely upon long running history and muscle memory rather than good solid training--out of your butt up to a point.  A point that I have apparently passed in my running career, as my nine lives may now be exhausted.

So, that’s my race report.  Now let loose your replies, all of which will likely invoke the words “butt” and “wuss”…. (but remember, be nice, this is the part when you say, “Gary, great job, not many people can run 20 miles, blah blah blah”)

Regards/Gary