Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cats in Art: The Jaguar (Audubon)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. Currently I'm turning for a few weeks to John James Audubon.

Image credit The Philadelphia Print Shop here, The Jaguar, John James Audubon.
If you recall from the post 2 weeks ago, here, Audubon is much better known for his stunningly beautiful paintings of birds. Per Wikipedia, "His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed."
What many folks don't know is that Audubon also set out to depict all North American quadrupeds (primarily four-footed mammals). His three-volume The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, published in 1845, contained this illustration.
Jaguars have always held a special fascination for the bride and I.  We once spent a couple of days in Belize at a jaguar sanctuary called Cockscomb Basin, where we hiked some distance during different times of the day (morning, mid-day, late day, dusk, and at night) but without catching a glimpse of a live cat.  We had hoped to get lucky, although only about 5% of guests do see a live jaguar.
We did, however, see some very fresh prints:
Image credit Gary
But back to Audubon...again in this image, as I have posted on his other cats, he really captures three key elements of any wild cat: grace, power, and stealth.  This particular one especially emphasizes the power aspect of a jaguar.

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