Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cats in Art: A Pair of Cougars (Audubon)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. Currently I'm turning for a few weeks to John James Audubon.  I thought I was finished with Audubon, then I uncovered a 5th image to post about.

Image credit here, A Pair of Cougars, John James Audubon.

If you recall from the previous posts in the Audubon series, 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.

This pair of loving kitties is a welcome change from some of Audubon's other works--and their sometimes disturbing attributes.  These guys seem to me to almost have a whiff of Oriental art about them--they would seem equally at home in a Japanese panel. 

The cats are relaxed and happy, and as we've seen before, Audubon captures well the notions of power and grace (the usual third component, stealth, is absent in this image).

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