Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Corner of the Studio (Tassaert)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit to the art repro site Oceans Bridge, The Corner of the Studio, Octave Tassaert, 1845, oil on canvas, 18" x 15", held by the Louvre, Paris.

And the kitty close-up from the center left:


Bugler tells us:

This painting illustrates perfectly the romantic cliche of a penniless artist starving in his garret...but at least he has some company--a beautiful cat, which characteristically has found the warmest position in the room, in front of the fire.

Couple of comments.  Cats and warmth: duh!

Second, we get used to instant gratification on the web, such that when it doesn't happen we are outraged.  Case in point: the Louvre's searchable database of paintings is pretty crappy in my humble opinion.  Bugler tells us that this work is held there, yet I cannot find any trace of it.  Perhaps it has been sold or traded to another museum.

Third....but, when I Google this work by title and artist, the only hits I get are for art reproduction sites.  Until I started my weekly Cats in Art posts, I had no idea that such enterprises existed.  Basically you can order a brand new, hand-painted repro of some famous artwork, in whatever size you wish (you ought to click over to the Ocean's Bridge site I provide above in the image credit).

I am not making value judgments about the propriety of buying a reproduction, just observing that my search for this work, A Corner of the Studio, was fruitless...except for numerous art reproduction sellers.  

[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, July 16, 2017

Cats in Art: A Hidden Feast (Paton)

Pardon this reposting, life has intervened.  This from 5 years ago.  Original link is here.

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From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. In my first post on 1 July on the artist Frank Paton, I was using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi. In researching Paton I uncovered several other cat works, so the entire month of Sundays in July will be devoted to him.



Image credit artnet galleries, here [click to enlarge].   A Hidden Feast, Frank Paton, 1881, oil on canvas, 38" x 34", private collection.

I guess the title comes from the fact that the dogs are swiping food from a vendor`s cart while he is chatting with another man.  Cats, of course, NEVER steal food.  Never.

Besides the cat in the foreground, who hopes to cash in on the dogs' bad behavior, we see two other cats in the background with the men.  These must be the good kitties.

As for the art, Paton again demonstrates his great skill at depicting animals accurately and with warm realism.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cats in Art: The Painter's Studio (Courbet)

[Sorry for no post past week]

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit Gustave Courbet web site, The Artist's Studio, Gustave Courbet, 1855, oil on canvas, 141" x 232", held by Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France.

From the artist web site:

The enormous Studio is without doubt Courbet's most mysterious composition. However, he provides several clues to its interpretation: "It's the whole world coming to me to be painted", he declared, "on the right, all the shareholders, by that I mean friends, fellow workers, art lovers. On the left is the other world of everyday life, the masses, wretchedness, poverty, wealth, the exploited and the exploiters, people who make a living from death". 

And Bugler's analysis:

Although Courbet wrote about the symbolic role of all the figures played ion this vast composition, he said virtually nothing about the cat; this has encouraged scholars to come up with a variety of theories to explain its presence.

My pet theory: Courbet liked cats.

Which brings me to the kitty close-up, from front and center of the painting:



Just for kicks, let's contrast this vibrant, colorful painting from a website dedicated to the painter, with the flat, gray version that appears on the website of the actual holder, the famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris:



The bride and I are fortunate to be traveling to Paris this fall, and will be able to stand in front of this huge painting--it's a stunning 12' tall and some 19' long--and survey it.  Wow, I can't wait!

[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, June 25, 2017

Cats in Art: Henry Clark's Mother-in-Law...(Hunt)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).



Image credit The Athenaem, Henry Clark's Mother-in-Law, Mrs. Davies and Four of Her Children in the Drawing Room of Her Home, William Holman Hunt, 1846, oil on canvas, 30" x 24", held by Geffrye Museum - London.


And the kitty close-up, including a couple of the strange-looking children:



And what is that over on the right, on the rug just in front of the fire?  A hat, a cat, a cow head, or a skunk?



This has to be one of the creepiest paintings containing a cat, ever.  Those four kids, in addition to being physically disproportioned, simply look possessed, while the mother looks, well, determined.  Or something.  About what, we do not know.  But the only normal thing in the painting is the white cat.

It may take a trip to London, to the Geffrye Museum, to actually stand in front of this painting, to figure this one out.

[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!]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

George Carlin...and Flamethrowers

I've not been political for awhile here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 9-year-old human being), but the anniversary of the late George Carlin's death on 22 June 2008 is sufficient cause to take a break from cats.

I only wish that George were here today to help us make sense out of this trying political time.  He would have been great source of "the emperor has no clothes" wisdom.

Embedded below is a 70-second YouTube clip of George discussing flamethrowers.  If it playeth not, the link is right here.

You know you want to watch it....just go ahead....





Sunday, June 18, 2017

Cats in Art: The Awakening Conscience (Hunt)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).


Image credit The Tate Museum, The Awakening Conscience, William Holman Hunt, 1853, oil on canvas, 30" x 22", held by The Tate Museum, London, England.


And the (unfortunately dark) kitty close-up, from the left edge under the table:




Bugler tells us this:

The cat crouching under the table plays a central role in this drama of a young woman's moral wakening.  Just as an unfortunate bird is trying to escape its clutches, so the kept woman is rising from her lover's lap, suddenly aware of the the need to extricate herself from a sinful way of life.

Me?  I'm thinking that many times in our lives we find ourselves in a situation where the realization just dawns: this is wrong, this is bad, must bail (today's political landscape engenders in me the same helpless feeling and the desire to return to normality).

The cat seems aware of the woman's plight and in a strange way seems sympathetic, as evidenced by the cat's interested and almost pleading expression: "Do the right 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, June 11, 2017

Cats in Art: The Commentator on the Koran (Lewis)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This my fifth and probably final post on the cat art of John Frederick Lewis.




Image credit The Great CatHarem Life in Constantinople, John Frederick Lewis, no other information available.

And the kitty close-up from over on the left:




Actually, there's another tiny kitten lurking under the table, probably best seen in the full size image rather than this grainy mess:




All I can say is that Lewis was quite adept at capturing the realistic likeness of cats.  Not just the actual painted image, but somehow also capturing the vibe, the essence of catness.  His cats just seem to elicit an "ah!" feeling from me when I look at them.

[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, June 4, 2017

Cats in Art: Harem Life in Constantinople (Lewis)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This my fourth post (of at least 5) on the cat art of John Frederick Lewis.






Image credit The Great Cat, Harem Life in Constantinople, John Frederick Lewis, no other information available.

And the kitty close-up:


I'm not sure who is the better lounger, the woman or the cat.  Wait, I know: it's the cat.  Paws down.


[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 28, 2017

Cats in Art: Study of a Lioness (Lewis)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This my third post (of at least 5) on the cat art of John Frederick Lewis.


Image credit Google Arts and Culture, Study of a Lioness, John Frederick Lewis, 1824, watercolor, 17" x 14", held by Yale Center for British Art.

This almost seems like a close-up from a heroic Vatican painting of heaven or something, as the lion seems to be in the clouds.  She must have have been a very good kitty.

I like Lewis' capture of the fierce and deadly jaws of this great cat.  Note also the powerful shoulder.  Huge paw.  If you mess with this critter, you will die.  No question.  

As with the male lion last week, I assume that Lewis was able to observe this cat in captivity to be able to render such an authentic image.

[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 21, 2017

Cats in Art: Head of a Lion (Lewis)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This my second post (of at least 5) on the cat art of John Frederick Lewis.




Image credit Tate Britain, Head of a Lion, John Frederick Lewis, 1824, watercolor, 13" x 10", held by Tate Britain Museum.

The museum website tells us a bit about Lewis:

One of several studies of lions and other animals made by Lewis in the 1820s and engraved by him at the same time. Gilbey quotes from the Sporting Magazine for 1824 a description of Lewis as ‘a young artist of considerable promise, who has recently made some very splendid studies of lions, which for their merit have been considered worthy of being added to the collections of Sir John E. Swinburne, Bart., and the President of the Royal Academy’, i.e. Sir Thomas Lawrence.

My thoughts?  This is an absolutely magnificent rendering of an African lion.  Though the lion seems a bit tired or weary, Lewis captures the regal essence of this huge cat.  This very week I was just at the National Zoo in Washington DC, and of course went pretty much straight to the big cats.  There I was able to observe their lions.  They, too, had that sort of wistful, world-weary look that we see here.  Likely Lewis' subject lion was in captivity as well.

One other observation: the Tate Museum is not currently displaying thgis watercolor.  Makes me sad to think that it is stored in a drawer somewhere rather than being hung for the world to appreciate.

[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 14, 2017

Cats in Art: A Turkish School in the Vicinity of Cairo (Lewis)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).


Image credit Artcyclopedia, who linked to Victoria and Albert Museum, A Turkish School in the Vicinity of Cairo, John Frederick Lewis, 1865, watercolor on paper, 13" x 17", held by Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

And the kitty close-up, from over there at the right foreground:



Bugler's comments:

The familiar Victorian schoolroom scene is transposed to Egypt, where the cat had ruled supreme for millennia, so it is only right that the animal should be accorded pride of place, in a sunny spot next to the schoolmaster.

My thinking is, well, duh--of course the cat gets to sit up front!  But moreover, this painting is a busy kaleidoscope of colors and themes. It is simply a busy, busy scene...whose fervor is so nicely tempered by the serene presence of the kitty up front with the master.  

[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!]

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cats in Art: First Steps or The Nourishing Mother (Gerard)

[Gary note: sorry, this should have posted yesterday]

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is fifth of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.



Image credit Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-MuseumFirst Steps or The Nourishing Mother, Marguerite Gerard, 1803, oil on wood, dimensions unspecified.

And the (unfortunately not sharp) kitty close-up:



At least one can see that the cat, hiding under a jacket or blanket, is alert and involved in what is happening with its human family.  And with a very long tail.

Look at the lighting.  While the background is dark and nondescript, the two women are strongly bathed in ethereal light, as, of course, is the baby taking its first steps.  And the cat, even though partially covered, is also the recipient of the warm light, according it equal status with the three people.  

I find it fascinating that Gerard added this cat to this painting--makes it seem like this one was a particularly loved family pet.  

[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, April 30, 2017

Cats in Art: The Swaddled Cat (Gerard)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is 4th of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.


Image credit Musee de GrasseThe Swaddled Cat, Marguerite Gerard, 1778, etching, held by Musee de Grasse, size unspecified.



Here's what the museum web site tells us about this etching: 

Around 1775, Marguerite Gérard, who was barely able to read and write, moved into the house of her sister, Marie-Anne Gérard, who had been married to Jean-Honoré Fragonard for six years. She became Fragonard's pupil and learned to paint, draw and engrave. Fragonard undoubtedly corrected the drawings of his young pupil and introduced her to etching, which enabled her to proudly sign this first print in 1778: The Swaddled Cat.

In 1780, she began to collaborate with the master, as shown by the engravings which include the statement "painted by Fragonard and Miss Gérard", and the signing of several prints.

First off, young Marguerite did this etching when she was a 17 year old.  Not too shabby an effort!  And the rendering of the kitty--that facial expression of total relaxation and bliss is captured so well.  That cat is in kitty heaven, at least for the moment.  It  reminds me of the stories my mother-in-law tells me about growing up on the farm in the 1930s, where she would dress up the barn cats and push them around in a stroller.

[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, April 23, 2017

Cats in Art: The Angora Cat (Gerard)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is third of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.



   



Image credit Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Foundation Corboud, The Angora Cat, Marguerite Gerard, 1783, oil on canvas, 26" x 22", held by Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Foundation Corboud.


And the kitty close-up:





Bugler tells us:

 The Angora Cat, painted in collaboration with Jean-Honore Fragonard, shows a cat baffled by its reflection in a convex mirror.

And the museum website tells us:

In the centre of the painting is a curious scene: evidently a black cloth has just been taken off the silver globe. An Angora cat has discovered her reflection and may have decided it is a rival. The globe also reflects what is going on behind us, so to speak: a woman is sitting at an easel in a small room with two other people.

While this is a pretty cool painting, I personally think the whole concept of cats and mirrors is overblown.  None of our kitties ever seemed to perceive the cat in the mirror, much less react to the "intruder."  That said, the concept of this painting is rather cool, where the reflective globe shows the viewer what else is going on in the room.

[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, April 16, 2017

Cats in Art: Prelude to a Concert (Gerard)

 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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is second of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.




Image credit National Museum of Women in the ArtsPrelude to a Concert, Marguerite Gerard, ca 1810, oil on canvas, 22" x 18", held by National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC.


And the kitty close-up.  Look very closely at this dark image to see the dark calico kitty on the table beside the sheet music:




Tool bad that Gerard did not throw a little of the light that illuminates the lady's bosom over onto the cat!  And as for the cat, making out her features is next to impossible, but I can detect that the cat's ears are pricked up and the eyes seem focused and intent, likely on the dog over there at the bottom left.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts website tells us about this painting:

Here, the female singer is clad in a sumptuous white satin gown, attire often seen on Gérard’s female subjects. She pauses to gaze up at her male accompanist, perhaps in response to a romantic overture. The tension of an erotic narrative is further supported by the guitar, often compared to the female body; the dog, a traditional emblem of fidelity; and the cat, a symbol of sexual promiscuity.
Really?  Cats are a symbol of sexual promiscuity?  That's news to me, but maybe my affection for cats explains why I am such a deviate.

[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, April 9, 2017

Cats in Art: The Cat's Lunch (Gerard)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

This is first of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.






Image credit Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-Museum, The Cat's Lunch (or Young Girl Giving Milk to Her Cat), Marguerite Gerard, ca 1800, oil on canvas, 24" x 19", held by Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-Museum, France.


And the kitty close-up:



Bugler tells us:

The charming owner of this splendid tortoiseshell and white cat is actually kneeling in front of her enthroned pet to offer up a dish of milk, under the envious eye of the dog.  The canine and feline pairing occurs in another of Gerard's paintings, Prelude to a Concert, while The Angora Cat, painted in collaboration with Jean-Honore Fragonard, shows a cat baffled by its reflection in a convex mirror.  [Gary note: these two paintings will be featured over the next couple weeks as we dig deeper into the cat art of Marguerite Gerard]

Here are my comments.  First, this cat is a BEAST, sized more like a lynx or a bobcat.  Its head is about the same size as that of the girl.  Plus, the cat is really annoyed, despite the milk: just take a look at the flattened ears.  Probably because of the overeager dog sitting beside the girl, hoping for a treat or a cat fight.

That said, Gerard somehow manages to have the painting project almost an air of tranquility or serenity, even with the obvious canine-feline potential for disaster.  The lighting, the colors, the girl, and the overall mood of the painting manage to dissuade the viewer from feeling anxious about the subject matter.

[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, April 2, 2017

Cats in Art: Rest in Peace, Tizzy

Departing from my normal script here to bide farewell to our Tizzy, who died at age 12 over the winter.  I guess she just ran out of lives, not because she lived hard and fast, but according to her personality, she just kinda moseyed off into the hereafter (and cancer propelled her along).

Couple of years ago I posted the post below.  The original link is here.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cats in Art: My Very Own Renaissance Kitty

UPDATED--See bottom of post!

I was sitting on the recliner the other day.  Tizzy, who had been on my chest getting stroked and petted, either got too warm or had had enough cat love, and went to lay at the bottom of the recliner.  She likes the spot where the footrest comes up: it makes a slightly V-shaped "bed" to lay in.

As the sun shone on Tizzy, she looked exactly to me as though she were a Renaissance kitty.  I had my camera within reach and snapped this image:
[image credit Gary]
Why do I refer to her as a Renaissance kitty?  See any parallels with this image?

[image credit Amazon]

This is the cover of the Zuffi book that has served as inspiration for my Cats in Art series of posts that I've been running on Sundays here for a couple of years now.  The book's dust cover is a detail from the Frederico Barocchi painting The Annunciation (1584, oil on wood transferred onto canvas, approx 97" x 67", held in the Vatican Art Gallery collection  Santa Maria Degli Angeli, Assisi, Italy).

Those dimensions above are for the entire painting, which is BIG--about 8 feet high and nearly 6 feet wide.  The kitty is snuggled in the lower left corner and by my reckoning covers a space about the size of an ordinary sheet of paper.  

Just for kicks here's the entire image of The Annunciation, with the marvelous kitty way down there in the lower left corner:

[image credit here]

So...if I ever make it to the Vatican, the Pope will just have to wait until I've scoped out this magnificent painting.

UPDATE: I was wrong about the museum: there painting is actually held at Santa Maria Degli Angeli, Assisi, Italy.  How do I know this?  The bride and I were actually just in Italy--and at the Vatican--a couple of weeks ago, and the painting was nowhere to be found.  My apologies for the error; I had written this post some months back, scheduled it for 2 Nov, and did not review it before it posted.  Oops!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cats in Art: A Girl Holding a Cat (Mercier)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).




Image credit Art UK, A Girl Holding a Cat, Philippe Mercier, ca 1750, oil on canvas, 36" x 28", held by National Galleries of Scotland, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

And the close-up of the little black kitty, with the girl thrown in for good measure, since her face is also of interest:




I am totally smitten with this little cat, who obviously is still a kitten (perhaps because we have a petite all-black cat as well, interestingly named Ca Beere, whose heart and personality are off the scale).  

Mercier captures perfectly the facial expression of this kitten: one of eager anticipation.  The cat is up for anything: being held by the girl is OK (for now!), but as soon as something better pops up, the kitty will be gone.  I also love the girl's expression, one of calm happiness, holding a favorite pet.  

As with the kitty's face, Mercier really gets this girl's face right as well.  Faces are tough, and from perusing numerous other Mercier paintings, in which he either paints young people with adult faces or renders them woodenly and unlifelike, he is on his game here.  Perhaps it was years of practice, as this painting was done near the end of his life, when Mercier was about 60 (he lived to be 71).

[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!]