Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cats in Art: Two Girls Decorating a Kitten (Wright)

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 Wikipedia, Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight, Joseph Wright of Derby, oil on canvas, 35" x 28", held by Kenwood House, London, England.

Note that this painting is alternatively called Two Girls Decorating a Kitten.  So here's the kitty close-up, and a woeful shot indeed it is:


Bugler comments:

The pictorial association of young girls with cats become commonplace in the 18th century.  Here, these two girls dress up a pet kitten in dolls' clothes, but the cat looks far from pleased with this new game....Extra drama is added to the narrative by the fact that is taking place by candlelight.

To which I add, "Oh, the indignity!"  But as I often say, that's the price our pets have to pay for domesticity.

Turns out I did this painting back in 2012 (link here).  Zuffi also loved this painting, as do I.

[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, February 12, 2017

Cats in Art: Gabrielle Arnault as a Child (Boilly)

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).

Following several weeks of the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari, we're moving on to the second week with Louis-Leopold Boilly from the period of the French Revolution.



Image credit Web Gallery of ArtGabrielle Arnault as a Child, Louis-Leopold Boilly, ca 1815, oil on canvas, 18" x 16", held by The Louvre, Paris, France.

And of course we need a kitty close-up:


At first I was going to refer to this cat as a scaredy-cat, but look at the expression again.  It is more of mild annoyance ("Isn't this over yet?") rather than fear.  Boilly does an exceptional job at working the nuances of feline facial expression and body language.  To say nothing of how well and realistically the cat's fur is painted, which is not an easy feat for an artist.  All in all, quite an exceptional job!

And even though she is not a cat, I cannot help but be dazzled by the rendering of Gabrielle: she seems to be a calm, placid child.  And those huge, expressive eyes!

As another aside, the bride and I will have the great fortune to visit Paris later in 2017, and of course we will spend as much time as practicable in the Louvre.  We certainly will pay a visit to the forever-young Gabrielle Arnault and her kitty.

[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, February 5, 2017

Cats in Art: The Dead Mouse (Boilly)

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).

Following several weeks of the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari, we're moving on to at least a couple weeks with Louis-Leopold Boilly from the period of the French Revolution.




Image credit The Wallace Collection, The Dead Mouse, Louis-Leopold Boilly, ca 1790, oil on canvas, 16" x 12", held by The Wallace Collection, London.

And the kitty close-up:


Bugler's analysis:

Here, a young boy clings to his mother, recoiling in horror at the sight of the dead mouse teasingly dangled through the window.  The cat looks up eagerly at the offering, its predatory pose making an amusing contrast with that of the docile fluffy pet in Boilly's portrait of the young Gabrielle Arnault [that painting will becoming next week--Gary]

I've never been squeamish about mice or small critters so I have trouble sympathizing with people who freak out over such things.  But it's the cat who apparently thinks that  things are going to get just a tad more interesting around here.  I like how it is standing its ground despite the child's noise right behind him/her.  Good kitty!

Also, note that this painting is rather small--scarcely larger than a sheet of legal paper.  Yet Boilly manages to pack all that marvelous detail into such a compact space.

[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, January 29, 2017

Cats in Art: Still Life With Cat and Parrot (Lazzari)

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 my third of several posts on the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari. 





Image credit Wikimedia, Still Life With Cat and Parrot, Sebastiano Lazzari, early 1700s, oil on canvas, 19" x 28", held in a private collection.

Note that if you are so disposed to try to look up more information about this painting, you may have better luck searching on the German title, Stillleben mit Katze ind Papagei.  



Couple of things that I find intriguing about this painting.  It is dark!  At first glance, it seems as though we have another instance of a painting that has darkened over the 3 centuries since it was painted.  Yet...look at the brightness of the back wall where a scientific poster is attached to a lighter wall, and even looks as though a light is being shined upon it.

Evidently Lazzari wanted to highlight the back wall, at the expense of the critters up front.  I just don't get it.

Second, I will say that Lazzari gets the cat right, unlike the paintings of his that I've featured here in the past two weeks.  The cat's eyes look lustrous, the splash of white fur on the whisker area looks real, the plum-colored nose just kills, and the overall posture, well, actually looks like a real kitty.

Another thing that I find fascinating is that while there is a by-God real parrot (or papagei if you are of Germanic persuasion) only inches away, the cat here is focused on something else in the right distance.  Must be pretty darn interesting if the cat literally passes on "a bird in the hand" (or paw!), evidently thinking that the "two in the bush" must be worth more.

Perhaps the cat and the parrot are buddies and there is no predator-prey thinking going on here.

[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, January 22, 2017

Cats in Art: Cat Holding a Fish (Lazzari)

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 my second of several posts on the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari.



Image credit Google Images, here.  Title uncertain, perhaps Cat Holding a Fish, Sebastiano Lazzari, early 1700s, no other information available.

The art of Sebastiano Lazzari on the web is elusive.  This image comes from searching Google Images, and leads one to an art auction site.  Despite the dearth of info, this image is almost certainly a Lazzari, a companion painting to the one I featured last week.  


This one uses the same kitty, but substitutes a fish for last week's salami, spills the fruit out of the bowl and onto the table, and uses a mirror in the background in place of the globe sculpture.

And the kitty is still very poorly behaved.


[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, January 15, 2017

Cats in Art: Still Life With Cat (Lazzari)

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 my first of several posts on the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari.




Image credit Wikigallery, Still Life With Cat, Sebastiano Lazzari, mid-1700s, oil on canvas, dimensions unspecified, held by Gallerie Dell Accademia, Venice, Italy.

And the kitty close-up:


Bugler's analysis:
No one would be fooled into thinking they were in the presence of a real cat, as the creature looks as solidly wooden as the table on which it stands, despite the fact that it is darting forwards to snatch a splice of very Italian-looking salami.

Ms. Bugler beat me to it--this cat is stylized and not at all alive.  While the rest of the image is pretty faithfully rendered as to realism, the cat is not.  Perhaps this is a stereotype, but the painter may well have been an engineer at heart with more attention paid to the scientific details of the lifeless objects in the image and no empathy for the kitty.

Of course, this does seem to be a very bad kitty.

[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, January 8, 2017

Cats in Art: The Cockney's Mirror (Hogarth)

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 my second post on the art of William Hogarth.



Image credit here, possibly titled The Cockney's Mirror, attributed to William Hogarth, no other information available.

And the kitty close-up from the center foreground:



As I have encountered in the past, here I present an image that may well be a Hogarth painting, but all I have to rely upon in terms of provenance is an Internet page.  Alas, time is short, so I'm going with it.  Even if it's not a Hogarth image, it is indeed a pretty painting...with a kitty!

In the very domestic and ordinary scene, the cat seems to be keeping one eye and one ear open and alert to any possible developments associated with the arrival of the guest on the right.  Better to be semi-alert than to miss a possible treat or petting.

[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, January 1, 2017

Cats in Art: The Rake Taking Possession of his Estate (Hogarth)

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.



Image credit Sir John Soane's Museum, The Rake Taking Possession of his Estate, William Hogarth, oil on canvas, 1734, 25" x 30", held by Sir John Soane's Museum, London.

This oil painting is quite dark, but let's go with it anyway.  While I could speculate that it's probably due to hundreds of years in a smoky environment and has not been curated to restore the original condition, take another look.  Perhaps all the gloom surrounding the central character (the "Rake") portends what is in store for the future wastrel.

Which brings me to Bugler's analysis:

"The Rake's Progress," a series of eight paintings by Hogarth, traces the story of Tom Rakewell, who inherits a fortune from his miserly father only to squander it in an orgy of vice that leads to his final decline into poverty and madness....A starving cat is searching an open chest for food, but finds only silverware--a comic indication, perhaps, of how useless all Tom's new wealth will prove to be to him in the end.

So we'd better check out the close-up of the poor kitty:



Now that is one sorry pussycat.  I've often thought that the way in which people treat animals is perhaps the best indicator of their real character.

Hogarth didn't only paint gloomy images; just check out this cheery painting (The Graham Children) that I featured here at Cats in Art about 5 years ago:



Looking forward to a great 2017!

[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!]