Sunday, June 17, 2018

Cats in Art: Leopard (Oudry)

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 had a wonderful vacation in France this fall 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 fifth and I think final post on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Leopard, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1741, oil on canvas, 51" x 62", held by Staatliches Museum Schwerin (State Museum Schwerin), SchwerinGermany.

And the kitty close-up:



Oudry painted a bunch of exotic animals, and this leopard is one of the finest.  I assume that in the 1700s, zoos were being established in Europe, enabling painters like Oudry to see real critters to paint from life.

This poor leopard superficially looks fierce and threatening, but to me it's just a bluff: the cat is just plain scared, and Oudry manages to capture that emotion.

[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 10, 2018

Cats in Art: The Monkey and the Cat (Oudry)

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.


Today is the fourth of at least 5 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





 Image credit Wikimedia Commons, The Monkey and the Cat, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 17439, medium and size unspecified, current holder unspecified.

And the kitty close-ups:



In the photo above, isn't that the most honest cat face you have ever seen?  Practically pleading, "I'm trying hard to be a good kitty.  Really!"

Somewhere on the net I found this image and holder of the painting to be attributed to the Birmingham Museum and Gallery in the UK.  That seems not to be the case when I go to the museum web site.  So I presume that this wonderful image hangs in someone's private collection rather than in a museum for all to enjoy.

Anyway, Oudry's image is associated with the fable by the author Jean de la Fontaine:

In La Fontaine's telling, Bertrand the monkey persuades Raton the cat to pull chestnuts from the embers amongst which they are roasting, promising him a share. As the cat scoops them from the fire one by one, burning his paw in the process, the monkey gobbles them up. They are disturbed by a maid entering and the cat gets nothing for its pains. It is from this fable that the French get their idiom Tirer les marrons du feu, meaning to act as someone's dupe or, deriving from that, to benefit from the dirty work of others. It is also the source of the English idiom 'a cat's paw', defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as 'one used by another as a tool'. 

Also note that on various sites the title of this work is shown as either The Cat and the Monkey, or The Monkey and the Cat.  Sadly, the latter with its featured billing of the monkey seems to be correct.

[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 3, 2018

Cats in Art: Cat With a Kitten (Oudry)

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.


Today is the third of at least 4 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.






Image credit The Athenaeum, Cat With a Kitten, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1737, size and medium unspecified, held in a private collection.

And the close up of the kitties, where I only capture the faces:





Mama cat looks eager and alert while her kitten looks a bit unsettled.  From the number of cats that Oudry painted I must assume that he "owned" cats throughout his lifetime....obviously the reason he was such a great artist.

[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 27, 2018

Cats in Art: Two Cats (Oudry)

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 had a wonderful vacation in France this fall 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 second of at least 3 posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.  


Image credit National Gallery of CanadaTwo Cats, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1725, oil on canvas, 29" x 36", held by the National Museum of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

And of course the kitty head shot:



From the museum web site:

Oudry has emphasized the large, gleaming eyes of the cats standing over a dead partridge. Both the defiant pose of the cats and the artist's attention to subtle differences in their markings suggest that this is a portrait. The work is contemporaneous with his portrait of "Le Général", Louis XV's cat. Oudry devoted his career to painting animals and was the official artist of the royal hunt.

I don't think I've ever seen a cat as mad as the one on the right.  Or maybe the cat is just intent upon the dead partridge, as painted, but the kitty just seems pissed beyond belief.

Thus far I've done a little investigation but nothing seems to be turning up about the tantalizing tidbit in the museum comment concerning Oudry's painting of the cat of Louis XIV.  Stay tuned!

[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 20, 2018

Cats in Art: Head of a Mewing Cat (Oudry)

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 had a wonderful vacation in France this fall 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 at least two posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.





Image credit PinterestHead of a Cat Mewing, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, early 1700s, black chalk, pastel with white highlights, 6" x 6", held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

And today no kitty close-up is warranted!

The analysis in the Vitoux and Foucart-Walter book Cats in the Louvre:

Bearing [sic] its little pointed teeth and with his whiskers every which way, the face of this puling cat is little short of terrifying.  It is so true to life that surely it was drawn from nature.  And yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Oudry quite simply copied it from a study showing several animals, including this cat's head [by Pieter Boel, held by "the museum at Alencon"].  

Did you notice the image credit?  I can almost hear you saying, "Pinterest, really??!!"  Again I've encountered one of the vagaries of the Internet: diligent search of the web, to include the Louvre website, uncovered no primary sources for this image.  I could only find sites like Pinterest and art reproduction sites.

Also did you notice the tiny size of the chalk sketch?  Only 6" square, yet all that marvelous kitty detail!

All I can say is that I wouldn't want to have to give flea meds--or any meds--to this particular kitty.  I value my life and limb a tad too much.

[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 13, 2018

Cats in Art: Earthly Paradis (de Vos)

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 had a wonderful vacation in France this fall 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 WikiMedia Commons, Earthly Paradise, Paul de Vos (and studio), 1600s, oil on canvas, 7' 2" x 10' 10", a replica of the original held by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Italy, held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

And the kitty close-up:


The analysis in the Vitoux and Foucart-Walter book Cats in the Louvre, as the paired critters are about ready to embark upon the Ark:

It was normal for painters to fill their depictions of Paradise with beasts of all kinds, so as to recall that, in accordance with biblical texts (Genesis), Adam was called upon by the Eternal to name every member of the animal kingdom. 
Very oddly, our [singular] cat has not adopted the placid attitude one might expect from him: with ears flattened and eyes bulging, he seems in a rage and ready to leap at some invisible adversary.  Perhaps he can sense that the end of this Garden of Eden is nigh.

The painting is huuuuuge, as was de Vos' habit, measuring some 7 feet tall and nearly 11 feet wide.  Can you imagine standing right there and seeing it in person? (unfortunately we completely missed it as we hustled of necessity thru the Louvre).

This is obviously a very bad cat.  Perhaps he was annoyed at the presumptuousness of Adam to name him.  Obviously, as I always say, we can never know the real name of any animal; we only know what we call them.

I've done three posts on the cat art of Paul de Dos previously: Still Life With Game and Lobster, Catfight in a Pantryand A Lion and Three Wolves.

Of course, my fav has to be Catfight in a Pantry, where we see an airborne kitty.  You know you want to click over to see it!


[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 6, 2018

Cats in Art: Fishmongers at Their Stalls (Snyders)

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 The Athenaeum, Fishmongers at Their Stalls (or more simply, Fish Stall), Frans Snyders, ca 1616, oil on canvas, 6' 10" x 11' 2", held by State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Hermitage web site tells us that Snyders painted a number of quite similar scenes, that fortunately are held by the museum.  This descriptor actually relates to another painting in the series  but the background facts pertain:

The Hermitage has 14 paintings by the famous Flemish painter of animals, hunting scenes and still lifes, Frans Snyders. Son of the owner of one of the largest restaurants in Antwerp, famous for its abundance of vegetables, fruit, fish and game, Snyders found rich material for his paintings. Snyders created his own individual concept of still life painting, which was monumental, decorative and dynamic. A characteristic example of this is the series of four market stalls commissioned from Snyders by Jacques van Ophem, powerful representative of the administration of Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella - the Spanish viceroys in the Southern Netherlands.

The Fishmarket shows a seemingly endless variety of the inhabitants of rivers, seas and lakes, depicted by Snyders with almost biological precision. The human figures give the canvas something of the feel of a genre painting: one is catching eels in a wooden tub, another is cutting a fish into pieces, while in the background the life of a sea port unfolds.


And of course the kitty close-up, of a very poorly behaved feline:


Of course, if I were a cat in 1600s Russia, I'd likely be trying to score some fish too.  All we can see is the poor cat's head and front paws, desperately trying to get some food.

Did you notice the size of this painting?  It's eleven feet wide and six feet tall.  Wow!  Can you imagine standing in the Hermitage Museum, right in front of this canvas, and being able to see the rich tableau of seafood, and to be able to scope out the cat directly instead of via this rather fuzzy enlargement?

Sounds like a road trip!  Actually, a faithful copy of this painting hangs in the Louvre, while the original is at the Hermitage.  Vitoux and Foucart-Walter's book Cats in the Louvre provides that nugget of info.


[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, April 29, 2018

Cats in Art: A Boy and a Girl With a Cat and an Eel (Leyster)

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 recently returned from a wonderful vacation in France this fall 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 The Catster, A Boy and a Girl With a Cat and an Eel, Judith Leyster, ca 1635, 23" x 19', oil on oak, held by The National Gallery, London, UK.

And the sad kitty close-up:


The laconic comment from The Catster:
Speaking of action, Judith Leyster’s 17th-century A Boy and a Girl with a Cat and an Eel is thought to allude to the Dutch saying, “He who plays with cats gets scratched.” This fancifully collared young lass is counting down the seconds to her brother’s violent feline education.

The official museum website, dreadfully British, tells us:

It has recently been suggested that this painting serves as a warning against foolish and mischievous behaviour. The boy has used the small eel to entice the cat into his grasp and then withholds the bait, while the girl teases the cat further by pulling its tail. Judging by its extended claws, the cat is about to scratch the boy. The picture thus seems to allude to the Dutch saying: 'He who plays with cats gets scratched', meaning he who looks for trouble will get it. It was common in Dutch 17th-century painting to use children in order to point out the foolish behaviour of adults.

Judith Leyster, a painter of genre scenes, portraits and still lifes, was mainly active in Haarlem and Amsterdam. In 1636 she married the painter Jan Miense Molenaer, whose work is also represented in the collection. The broad brushstrokes, the cropped composition and the depiction of youthful happiness all show Frans Hals’ influence on Leyster.

This poor kitty's fuse is smoldering.  I don't think the explosion is imminent, but still some seconds away.  There's still time to defuse the situation and let the cat loose....failing that, some scratches are inevitable.

This painting also has some other attributes: did you notice that it was painted by a woman....and that in the National Gallery blurb about it, they make the point that painter Judith Leyster's work shows the influence of her teacher, one Frans Hals?

That may well be.  But over the years of doing this, I think I see an unconscious bias towards female artists wherein any description tends to emphasize influences rather than the artist's own style and talents.

I also note that on the museum web site we see that this painting is not currently on display.  Not on display?!  What's wrong with these dolts?  I'd be happy to hang it here by my computer and regard that tricky little kitty face lovingly every single day for the rest of my life.
[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!]