Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cats in Art: The Geese of the Capitol (Motte)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is the second of a pair of posts on the art of Paul-Henri Motte.


Image credit Wikimedia CommonsThe Geese of the Capitol, Henri-Paul Motte, 1889, medium, size, and ownership unspecified.

And the kitty close-up, very reminiscent of the lion in The Fiancee of Belus featured here a couple of weeks ago:



Wikimedia Commons tells us this:


While the Roman soldiers and watch dogs slept, Juno's sacred geese on the Capitol warned Rome of the Gallic attack in 390 BC.

And that terse statement is about all I could ascertain about this painting.  It is a fascinating work, true to Mott's inclination towards historical realism in his paintings.

The poor lion seems revulsed by the water spouting forth from its mouth.  Can't say that I blame him.


[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, December 31, 2017

Cats in Art: The Fiancee of Belus (Motte)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.




Image credit Gary of image in the Orsay Museum, The Fiancee of Belus, Henri Mott, 1885, oil on canvas, 71" x 49", held by the Orsay Museum Paris, France.


And the close-up of the (rather large!) kitty at the right front:



Our friends at Wikimedia Commons provides an electronic image plus more here.  Apparently the theory behind this image (per Wikipedia) is thus:


...based on a fanciful Babylonian ritual associated with deity Belus (Bel). According to that ritual, Bel was offered a girl who sat on the lap of the Bel's statue overnight, and then was replaced by another, all of whom were the winners of daily beauty contests.


As I have often remarked about various paintings that I have been fortunate enough to see in person, my impression from standing right in front of the wonderful painting was its size and detail.  It's nearly 6 feet high and 4 feet wide.  One can never tell much about size from the image in a coffee table book, unless one reads the narrative to ascertain the true size.  On the small side, I have been blown away by paintings measuring scant inches wide and tall; similarly, I've seen some truly giant canvases.  In either extreme, when you see a painting repro in a book, you simply cannot tell how big the painting really is.

At any rate, Motte nailed it with the lion: regal, powerful, watchful, perhaps even disdainful.  On the macro scale, the overall image is quite interesting: muted and darkened background with a strikingly bright focus upon the poor young lady on Belus' lap.  She no doubt is believing that her being singled out is a most dubious honor.

[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, December 29, 2017

Cats in Art: A Christmas Apology

Oops, so I missed Christmas.  Well, not the real Christmas--I happily celebrated the holiday with the bride, kids, and grandkids.  But I did miss my Cats in art post for the special day, without even giving it a thought. Sorry!

Blogging is an outlet, one that once was very important to me as a means of expressing first my love of the sport of Ultrarunning, then gradually mixing in philosophy and politics, then as a relief valve for my outrage at ongoing political and social stupidity.

I suppose I could easily maintain that outrage over the current occupant of the White House, should I choose to do so, but at this juncture of my life, I guess I realize that my small little blog is insufficient forum to make a difference.  Plus I want to be happier and less dour, and spend time focusing on the positive things of my life rather than the negative things at the macro level.

So now I just post about Cats in Art every week (when I don't forget!)....and get higher viewership than I ever did while trying to be "relevant" and "edgy."  So, enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cats in Art: Afternoon Bourgeous (Bonnard)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is the fourth of several posts on the cat art of Pierre Bonnard.


Image credit Gary of painting at the Orsay Museum, A Bourgeois Afternoon or the Terrasse Family), Pierre Bonnard, 1900, oil on canvas, 55" × 83", held by Orsay Museum, Paris, France.

And the close-up of the three cats:


My impression from standing right in front of the wonderful painting was its size and detail.  It's nearly 5 feet high and 7 wide...now that's a canvas!  And the more I looked at it, the more detail I saw.  There are at least 13 people engaged in many actions, along with at least 6 animals.

The superbly rendered expression on the striped cat's face is priceless...again, evidence that Bonnard was a real cat expert who could capture feline nuances on his canvases.

[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, December 10, 2017

Cats in Art: The Man and the Woman (Bonnard)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is the third of several posts on the cat art of Pierre Bonnard.




Image credit Gary of painting at the Orsay MuseumThe Man and the WomanPierre Bonnard, 1900, 46" x 29", oil on canvas, held by Orsay Museum, Paris, France.

And the close-up of the kitties from over there on the left:



The analysis on the Orsay web site:


What strikes us immediately about the painting is its audacious structure—the screen which separates the two figures divides the work into a kind of diptych. Bonnard was particularly interested in and influenced by Japanese ukiyo-eprints. Indeed his nickname amongst the Nabis was ‘Le Nabi très japonard’ (‘the very Japanese Nabi’). Ukiyo-e prints often employ a diptych or triptych format, echoing a two- or three-part narrative structure—in one part something is going on, while in another something else is going on. In Bonnard’s image, each side of the canvas is treated quite differently. In the left ‘panel’ Marthe is proportionally quite small. Emphasis is given to the subtle articulation of her skin tones, while there is a deliberate contrapuntal balancing of the massed base of the bed upon which the cats play, and the image of the painting above Marthe’s head. On the right we have the elongated form of Bonnard himself....

What I note from personal experience is that whenever the bride and I are in bed, we are an irresistible cat magnet.  Our cats come charging from wherever they may be in the house to rush the bedroom, launch themselves into the air onto the bed, and attempt to take over the space.  Evidently Bonnard was well acquainted with cats (judging from the number of paintings he placed cats in) and had to 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, December 3, 2017

Cats in Art: Le Chat Blanc (Bonnard)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


This is the second of several posts on the cat art of Pierre Bonnard.




Image credit Gary (taken at Orsay Museum), The White Cat, Pierre Bonnard, 1884, oil on card, 20" x 13", held by Orsay Museum, Paris, France.


The Orsay Museum web site tells us:

Here, Bonnard uses distortion to create a humorous image of this cat arching its back. A strange animal, exaggeratedly arched on its paws, with its head drawn down into its shoulders, eyes like slits and a cunning expression. It seems both tame and wild. 
The painter spent a long time deciding on the shape and the position of the paws, as can be seen in the preparatory drawings. The x-ray of this work also reveals many changes, some of which are actually visible to the naked eye. "Art is not nature" he used to say, to the extent that his White Cat has become almost a caricature, "a comical and humorous image created through the genius of its master who observed and understood it so well" (Elisabeth Foucart-Walter).

I love this playful take by Bonnard of the cute white cat.  The bride and I once had a kitty whom we called Charlotte (for I contend that we can never really know a cat's name), who would get up on her toes and skitter around the room to engage us in chasing play.  Bonnard's white cat looks like it already is in mid-skitter.  And deciding whether you deserve a paw whacking.

[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, November 26, 2017

Cats in Art: Checked shirt (Portrait of Madame Claude Terrasse at twenty), Bonnard

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is the first of several posts on the cat art of Pierre Bonnard.


And the kitty close-up:



Image credit Gary of painting at the Orsay Museum, Checked shirt (Portrait of Madame Claude Terrasse at twenty),  Pierre Bonnard,  1892, 24" x 13", oil on canvas, held by Orsay Museum, Paris, France. 

Actually just saw this painting with my own eyes at the Orsay Museum in Paris.  Wow.  The best art book in the world cannot capture the texture and colors of an actual painting.

More art from Bonnard--a fav at the Orsay--to come in the ensuing weeks.

[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, November 19, 2017

Cats in Art: Lion Biting Some Guy's Ass at Versailles (sculptor TBD)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was waaaaay better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.  Much more on those kitties in the weeks to come.

But first, this post shows a rather unusual outdoor sculpture on the garden grounds of the Palace of Versailles.  The bride and I had walked out back to see the famous sculpture of Apollo where he comes roaring out of the water on his chariot (I'll include a photo of it at the bottom just as a bonus, regrettably sans chats)

Then we came upon this rather interesting outdoor work:



Now a tad closer....


And finally the kitty close-up:


Image credit Gary, on my iPhone.  The sculpture is at least full-sized, if not slightly larger.  This day was our only instance of rain on the trip, so I passed on photographing the statue's title plate to stay dry (the umbrellas were, of course, on the bus).  

Upon our return to the U.S. I did a quickie search to try to find the sculptor and title--and failed--so I'll keep trying so I can give proper credit, which is important to me.

At any rate, the message of the sculpture is quite clear: this guy was clearly out of line in some manner; one had better behave, for one never knows when a cat may even the scales justice by biting some deserving miscreant in the ass.  

No worries for the general population, for cats will strike solely in the case of misbehavior (for cats are nothing if not scrupulously fair).  Believe me.

Now the bonus huge Apollo sculpture.  No kitties, just pure, beautiful art:



[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!]