Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cats in Art: Nativity (Gauguin)

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.  Last week I also did a Gauguin entitled Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? 

Image credit Wikipaintings. Navitity, Paul Gauguin, 1896, oil on canvas, 37" x 50", held by Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.
Zuffi calls this one of Gauguin's great masterpieces,
"...perhaps the high point of his very personal form of mysticism, which fused Christian traditions with the exotic settings of the Pacific islands.  The scene takes place in a Polynesian hut, where a young woman has just given birth to her child: the faint haloes around the heads of the very young mother and the newborn call to mind the iconography of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.  The simplicity of the Tahitian house is comparable to that of the hut in Bethlehem, and the stable in the background is a further homage to the history of sacred painting.  On the bed we can see the outline of a white cat, which makes its presence felt by gently brushing its soft fur against the smooth, dark skin of the girl's legs."

Leave it to Gauguin--the only way to improve the nativity story would be to add a cat and move the setting to a tropical paradise. 

As he merges the theme of the kitty with the birth of Christ, we have a perfect post for this Christmas season.


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