From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in Art, I 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!]