Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cats in Art: Where Do We Come From? (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.

First the global view:

Image credit WikipaintingsWhere Do We Come From? What Are We?  Where Are We Going?  Paul Gauguin, 1897, oil on canvas, 4.5' x 12.3' (that's HUGE!), held by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Then the detail from the center foreground, with the kitties, of course:

Zuffi sets the historic stage:

This monumental painting is considered the painter's true spiritual testament.  Unbound, unconventional, and a lover of travel and adventure, Gauguin was approaching the end of his life--in the remote islands of the Pacific, far from the modern world that he disliked....In this consummate masterpiece--the deep and very sincere reflection of a man who never sought out abstruse philosophies, to the point that he described himself as a "dabbler"--it is a great comfort to find the familiar outline of a cat, our slightly mysterious but not unfaithful companion on life's journey.

Who better to journey with than a pair of cats?  Who care nothing for the big questions of life (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?) but rather just want to be petted and to purr.

Indeed, if one our life goals is to make each of our cats purr daily, and if our leaders all did the same, I can't help but think that our global problems would certainly be fewer. 

For example, if President Obama was being pressed by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, to offer moral and military support for Israel's military actions in Gaza, now that's a tough question, full of life-and-death implications and possible unintended consequences.

Suppose the President, said, "You know, Ben, let me get back to you on that.  I have a kitty to pet first."

I can't help but think better decisions are more likely to result.

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