Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cats in Art: Girl With a Cat (2 variations, by Perronneau)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.

Today's post is somewhat different.  When I went to the net to snag an image of Perronneau's Girl With a Cat, I found another version, and will reproduce both here.  I've encountered this several times previously, where apparently an artist will do multiple versions of a painting.  Or we have an original, then perhaps a student paints a slightly different study.  Regardless, it's fascinating, and with these paintings in question having been done some 250+ years ago, the truth of the matter will likely never be known.

So, first the Zuffi version called Young Girl With a Cat, held by the Louvre (although Zuffi omits the initial word "young"):


Image credit Wikimedia.org, Young Girl With a Cat, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, 1757, pastel on parchment, 18" x 15", held by Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.

 Zuffi's comment:

In this adorable girl, and in the little gray cat that peeps out from a corner of the picture, Perronneau's gifts for intimacy and precise definition, along with the notable sense of color that characterize his work...are clearly visible.

And the second version:
Image credit National Museum, A Girl With a Kitten, attributed to Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, 1745?, pastel on paper, 23" x 20", held by The National Gallery, London, England.


My comment: Same girl, same clothes, different poses, and most importantly, different cat.  Whichever work came first, and whether both were by Perronneau, the first cat must have misbehaved and needed to be replaced by a better cat.

I think the second image must have been the first one painted, because that cat just looks bad.  The cat at in the first image actually looks like it is enjoying being held by the girl.

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