Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cats in Art: The Bridge (Larsson)

Not from Stefano Zuffi's coffee table book, The Cat in Art, that has been the guiding template for my continuing Sunday series.... but rather an image that I just stumbled upon in my research:

Image credit Swedish version of Wikipedia, The Bridge, Carl Larsson, 1912, watercolor, held in private collection.

Since I don't have Zuffi to steer by, I get to be the art critic solo here.

The bright greens and yellows of the foliage create a sense of vibrant life, and the human presence seems at first glance seems to be normal and peaceful...until one considers the almost jarring bright orange of the artist in the image and the stark black cat.

The cat becomes the focus of the painting--it's where your eyes are drawn.  Even if you try to pay attention to the other details, you keep getting pulled back to the cat.

Indeed, even on high resolution the cat seems to be a silhouette virtually devoid of all detail (although I'd love to see the original up close and see the actual brushstrokes that comprise the cat).

And what is happening over on the bridge?  The man--if that's the gender--on the bridge has insufficient detail to make out what, if anything, he is doing.  Yet both the cat and the artist (who seemingly has dropped her brush) are staring intently in that direction.

All in all, a fascinating painting!


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