Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cats in Art: Hercules, plus Dead Monkey on a Dish (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.  This will be last of 4 posts dealing with the artist Lucien Freud.

Wikipedia tells us:
Lucian Michael Freud1922 – 2011) was a German-born British painter. Known chiefly for his thickly impastoed portrait and figure paintings, he was widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time. His works are noted for their psychological penetration, and for their often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model.

And, I might add, for his obsession with--and unflattering portrayals of--nudes in all genders, shapes and sizes.  

Image credit Bridgeman ImagesHercules, 1948 (pen + ink on paper), 9" x 5", held in a private collection

Well, what can we say about the bizarre image above?  If this is to be the Hercules of mythology, why portray him as a boy?  And moreover, as a boy with a lion cape on his head?  

While perhaps there is not mythological connection--the boy's name might well real be Hercules--the image is vaguely disturbing in an almost pedophilic way.  And the lion's facial expression looks as though he knows exactly what is going on...and isn't saying.  All in all, Freud has created what for me is an uncomfortable image.

Which brings me to the end of Freud's cat art.  But I cannot leave Freud without throwing in a bonus image--not of a kitty--but of a monkey.  This drawing was so odd that I had to share it with you, as some sort of proof of just how strange Lucien Freud must have been:

Image credit Bridgeman ImagesDead Monkey on a Dish, 1943 (ink + crayon on paper), 9" x 13",  held in a private collection

You are reading this post because (probably) you kinda like art and I present some offbeat amusement.  Well, I bet in your wildest art dreams you never imagined that you'd be looking at an image called Dead Monkey on a Dish.

Next week?  An oil painting by Balthus....

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