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-HonorĂ© 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!]