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!]




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Cats in Art: "Madonna Cat" (Mind)

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 is the third of several posts on the works of Gottfried Mind, AKA The Raphael of Cats.



Image credit The Great Cat, title unspecified, Gottfried Mind, no other information available.


And the kitty close-up:



I was going to post a famous Christmas painting that contained a cat...only I totally struck out in locating such an image.  There were plenty of opportunities to insert a cat into a famous painting but so far as I could tell, there is no "great master" with a Christmas theme and a cat.

So I elected to remain with the art of Gottlieb Mind for another week and searched his images for a kitty with a Madonna-like expression.  

Look at that cat face: the word that comes to mind is serene.  Much like Mary has been depicted in nativity art over the ages.

The caveat, of course, is that Mind's works tend to be somewhat under the radar.  In fact, this image only comes from an art appreciation site called The Great Cat, thus I am relying on the unverified Internet that this is really a Gottfried Mind image.

So, suspend disbelief, as I have, and treat this image as a Christmas cat from the pen of Gottfried Mind some 200+ years ago.  Merry Christmas!


[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 18, 2016

Cats in Art: A Cat in a Cage (Mind)

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 is the second of several posts on the works of Gottfried Mind, AKA The Raphael of Cats.



Image credit The Great Cat, A Cat in a Cage, Gottfried Mind, undated, pen and ink with wash on paper, held in a private collection.


And the kitty close-up:


This image appears in Bugler's book with the image from last week of the cat having the upper hand. With this image, the shoe is on the other paw, so to speak.  She tells us:

In what appears to be a pendant to Cat Killing Mice in a Landscape, the mice have got their own back on their arch-enemy by imprisoning it in a cage--a most undignified gaol, in which it sits like an oversized bird.  The theme of mice taunting cats is an ancient one....It relates to the notion of "the world turned upside down," in which oppressors are held in bondage by those they normally oppress.

Mind's cat--if you look at the close-up--really does not seem to be too disturbed.  Its look is more one of interest rather than fear.  Perhaps it's been in the slammer before.

The life and works of Gottfried Mind is a PhD  project just waiting to happen.  I Googled "Biography of Gottfried Mind"and came up virtually empty.  Ditto for "Complete Works of Gottfried Mind."  Go ahead and try it--you'll find some bits and pieces, but there is no authoritative expert.

You could be that person.

For example, one search result that came back: seems that The British Museum does hold a work entitled "Mindiana, Life of Gottfried Mind."  But here is how it starts out:

The album is inscribed at the beginning with eleven pages of an account of the life of the artist, written by G. Fairholme: 'Life of Godfrey Mind. / commonly called / The Raphael of Cats * Amongst the endless varieties of character & disposition presented to our contemplation in the study of the human mind, it would be difficult to find one more worthy of our attention than the unfortunate subject of the present memoir: for the character of Godfrey Mind exhibits such an anomalism of mental powers, as has perhaps never been recorded, to a similar degree. This poor cretin may be regarded as a singular instance of innate natural talent of a high class, & of a particular kind, combined with almost total deficiency of reason, upon any other subject, however simple. 

"This poor cretin."  Really??  Art scholars: Get to work!  Now!

[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 11, 2016

Cats in Art: Cat Killing Mice in a Landscape (Mind)

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.   

After several posts on some art that the bride and I just saw in Italy on a wonderful visit in October to the Amalfi Coast, we are back to whatever passes for normal around here.




Image credit art.com (an art reproduction house), Cat Killing Mice in a Landscape, Gottfried Mind, ca 1800, pen and ink with wash on paper, dimensions unspecified, held in a private collection.

And the mandatory kitty close-up:



Bugler tells us about Gottfried Minds and this image:

Described in his own lifetime as feeble-minded (he was probably autistic), he nonetheless had one special gift: the ability to draw and paint cats.....Here is an oddly outsized tortoiseshell and white cat enjoying a gastronomic orgy; mice flee from his gluttonous paws.  According to contemporary reports, the artist's cat Minette was always by his side as he worked.  She luckily escaped the culling of more than 800 cats ordered by Berne authorities in 1809 in an attempt to counteract a rabies epidemic, but it is said that the artist never recovered from the mass slaughter of his favorite creatures.

Several of my observations:

--I credit this work to the site art.com, which sells art reproductions.  Since this work is held in a private collection, I was pretty unsuccessful at finding the work online in any other venue than a for-profit site.

--Note than in Bugler's analysis of the work, she says "...from his gluttonous paws..." when the cat, being a calico, is a female.  Bugler does correctly identify Mind's cat Minette (what a cool name!!) as a she a couple of sentences later.  

--This calico is in feline heaven--mice everywhere!

[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 4, 2016

Cats in Art: Espirit de Baculard d'Armand (Greuze)

Busy times these days, here's a short post from 5 years back that I still particularly like (it originally ran on 4 Dec 2011).

+++++++++++++++++++++
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 The Scholar's Resource, here.  Espirit de Baculard d'Armand (or in English, The Son of Francois Thomas de Baculard d'Armand), Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1776, oil on oval canvas, held by Musee des Beaux-Arts, Troyes, France.  

Zuffi observes, on the art of this period:
The cat faced up to this age of revolution and change with its customary nonchalance and proverbial adaptability.


In other words, tell me when it's over, but in the meantime, keep on petting me or I'll get even more annoyed than I am now....


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cats in Art: Church Fresco of Seeing Eye Dog

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.   

After several posts on the art of Chardin, I am diverting into some art that the bride and I just saw in Italy on a wonderful visit in October to the Amalfi Coast.


Here we have a series of three shots of the same painting, each one taken successively closer.  These are from the Duomo di Salerno (Salerno Cathedral) and date from the 1600s.


That's a dog, you say?  You'd be right.  For the first time ever here at my regular Sunday Cats in Art post, I will feature a dog.  Why?  Because it was beautiful art.


We visited a church in the lovely town of Salerno that supposedly contains some bones of St. Matthew, one of Jesus' twelve disciples.  You head down under the sanctuary to a crypt...but what a crypt it is!  Rather than being small and dank, this is a huge open room  with arches in the low ceiling, each of which has been painted with a Biblical scene involving St. Matthew.

Which Christmas approaching I figured it might be appropriate to use an image of Jesus healing a blind man:




And finally, the puppy close up:



What makes these frescoes great is that they are only some 20' above you, thus rendering them--to me and the bride--much more impactful than the famous paintings waaaaay up on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome.  Each circular painting here in Salerno is perhaps 8-10" across.   I didn't count but there are a couple of dozen at least.

Tucked away here.  Utterly stunning.

[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!]