Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cats in Art: The Chess Players (de Man)

Busy today so I am reposting a cool painting I featured here some 5  years ago.
From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I'm using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  


Image credit Azerbaijan Rugs, here. Cornelius de Man, The Chess Players, c. 1670, Oil on canvas, 97.5 cm x 85 cm, held by Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, Hungary.   

Zuffi comments:

In this home, a game of chess may mask an amorous "battle": as far as we can tell, the moves of the game are observed by a beautiful tabby cat, well cared for and groomed to perfection...This is one of the seventeenth-century works in which the cats' role as a domestic animal is most obvious.

Or maybe the cat is mentally beaming clues about strategic moves to the woman.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Johnny Blaze....Arghhhh!

September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day.  There actually is an official website, here, where you can read more--much more, believe me--about this day.

Oh, the indignity!

This is the furred, four-legged cat son of of our daughter.  They have named him "Johnny Blaze," although, of course, his actual name is known only to him.




This would be a good time to observe that conventional wisdom has pirates typically saying "Arghhhh", but when you think about it, who really  knows how pirates actually talked? Surely there are no sound bites from the 1700s.

I propose that early on in the "talkie" era, when motion pictures were first accompanied with sound, that a film was made in which a pirate first said "Arghhhh," and that became the model for pirate speech thereafter to this very day.

You're welcome to the PhD candidate to whom I just gave his dissertation thesis.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Cats in Art: A Cat Attacking Dead Game (Desportes)

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'll be the sixth  of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.





Image credit The Atheneum, A Cat Attacking Dead Game,
Alexandre-Francois Desportes, 1700s, oil on canvas, dimensions unspecified, held in a private collection.

And the kitty close-up:


OK, you've borne with me through a month and a half of mostly cats with dead stuff as imaged by Desportes.  Being tempted, as it were, to be bad kitties.  Mostly they failed (well, actually I guess they failed in every case, giving in to their natural hunting instincts).

But what I keep coming back to is just how marvelously Desportes captures these cats, and this bad calico is no exception....total focus, deadly intent.  Desportes manages to grab these behaviors while simultaneously capturing the physical details of fur, paws, face, and ears.  

As I often say, too bad that most of these Desportes paintings are hanging in somebody's private collection rather than in a museum.

[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, September 11, 2016

Cats in Art: Still Life With a Cat (Desportes)

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'll be the fifth of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.



Image credit The Aetheneum, Still Life With a CatAlexandre-Francois Desportes, 1724, oil on canvas, no information on dimensions, held in a private collection.

The kitty close-up from the upper right of the painting:


I am blown away by the awesome detail that Desportes brings to this painting.  Just look at the face of this kitty, and the rendering of the fur and posture.

Those poor, pathetic mushrooms are about to be swept from the table and some real food pulled down.

Probably as much as--or more than--any painter I have featured over these past 5+ years of my Cats in Art posts, my hat is off to Desportes for his near-photographic realism of the feline form.  And I have to assume that any cat he "owned" was a lucky kitty, indeed.


[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, September 5, 2016

Cats in Art: A Dog and a Cat Fighting in a Kitchen Interior (Desportes)

Gary Note: sorry this is is day late.  Life, etc.

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'll be the fourth of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.




Image credit The Aetheneum, A Dog and a Cat Fighting in a Kitchen Interior, Alexandre-Francois Desportes, 1710, oil on canvas, no information on dimensions, held in a private collection.


And the disturbing kitty/dog close-up:



The dog is dead serious, and the cat is overmatched.  One can only hope that the dog's slashing attack missed causing serious damage, and that the kitty managed to high-tail it out of there.  And check out the close-up again: if there is such a thing as an artist painting an "Oh, shit!" facial expression on an animal, Desportes manages to do it right here.

However....did you notice the other kitties in the painting?  I almost missed them since the viewer's eye iis drawn immediately to the big fight.  There's a cat down in the lower left, another one immediately below the fight (looking strangely composed, despite all the action), and another just above the fight.  Plus that might even be a fourth cat lurking to the right of the dangling goose.

[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, August 28, 2016

Cats in Art: Kittens at Play (Desportes)

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'll be the third of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.


Image credit The Great Cat, Kittens at Play,  Alexandre-Francois Desportes, no other information available, held in a private collection.

Of the four kittens painted here by Desportes around 1700, the three in the front are complaining about something, or perhaps three distinct somethings.  But it's the kitty in the back--who also seems a tad needy, but not as much as its compadres--that draws my attention.

Desportes renders this adorable kitten in a manner worthy of a 2016 first-class adoption promotion.  If I were looking for a kitty, that one would be it.

Looking at the entire image, Desportes captures so well the nuances of cat bodies: the texture and pattern of the fur, the mouth, the eyes, the paws....He must have been a cat "owner."

[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, August 21, 2016

Cats in Art: Still Life With Cat (Desportes)

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'll be the second of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.



Image credit The Great Cat, Still Life With Cat,  Alexandre-Francois Desportes, no other information available, held by the Liverpool Walker Gallery.

This image comes from the same web site as last week, but unfortunately I have been unable to discern any more information about the date and size of the painting.  I just know that the kitty is being very opportunistic...in other words, just being a cat.

[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, August 14, 2016

Cats in Art: Cat and Dead Game (Desportes)

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'll be the first of several Alexandre-Francois Desportes paintings that will be featured here.



Image credit The Great Cat, Cat and Dead Game,  Alexandre-Francois Desportes, ca 1700-1750, oil on canvas, dimensions unknown, held in a private collection.

Typically here I place a close-up of the the cat image, though in this case there is no need for a kitty close-up: the cat pretty much fills this painting.

This is an absolutely gorgeous painting.  The bride and I having once had a beautiful black and white kitty, I suppose I might be biased a bit towards such cats.  But gorgeous seems to be the only word that does this painting justice.  The cat is perfectly rendered, with outstanding detail of the fur, the face, the feet, the eyes, the whiskers.... I guess you get the idea that I kinda love this painting!  I would love to see it in person to be able to scope out the actual brushstrokes.

However, the sad part of this painting is that it is held in a private collection.  Without sounding too much like Indiana Jones, it belongs in a museum for all the world to see.

Note that back in 2010 I did another Desportes painting, much better known, called Cats Attacking Dead Game.  Here's the link for you to click over and enjoy!

[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!]