Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cats in Art: Girl With a Kitten (Freud)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I'm using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  At length I think I am past the art blogging from our recent trip to the Old World...though I reserve the right, as blog owner, to insert yet another cat image from Europe as I review my photographic record  of our trip....

Image credit the here, Girl With a Kitten, Lucian Freud, 1947, oil on canvas, 15" x 12", held by Tate Britain museum, London, England.

Zuffi tells us:

In Girl With a Kitten the artist portrays Kitty Epstein, daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein....the almost Dutch style of this period of Freud's painting heightens the most minute details, such as the rather shaggy hair.  Nervous, with her lips slightly apart and an anguished expression, Kitty conveys a sensation of discomfort.  The kitten, oddly gripped by the neck, contributes to the feeling of anxiety projected to the viewer: its wide-open eyes, like those of the woman, allow a pale light to be reflected in their gaze.

My thoughts?  While Kitty--the woman--looks nervously off to the right, the real kitty looks directly at the artist with a mute appeal for intervention.  If I were there I would advise the kitten--as I do my own cats who are disenchanted with some undesired human intervention--that "This is the price you have to pay for domestication.  Get over it!"

I should observe that the woman, to me, looks vaguely like Angelina Jolie...though she would not be born for nearly 30 years after this painting was rendered.  Also I should note Freud's use of the color gray, which happens to also be my favorite color.  Kudos to Freud for emphasizing this vastly underrated color!

One hopes that the kitty was soon released after posing and got back to doing normal kitten things.

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