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The Idle servant, Nicolas Maes, 1655, oil on wood, 27" x 21", held by National Gallery, London, England.
A versatile painter who created powerful images, Maes was one of the most talented of Rembrandt's many pupils...If the cook falls asleep, many problems may arise, causing her dutiful colleague to smile (almost a secular version of the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins). One such problem is the fact that the household cat, always on the prowl, is allowed free rein.
See, cats know that every thing in and around a house is for them. Free rein indeed--it's just the way things are or should be, at least according to the cat.