Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cats in Art: The Earthly Paradise (Bosch)

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.  

Image credit Wikimedia Commons, The Earthly Paradise (Garden of Eden), Hieronymus Bosch, 1500, oil on wood, held by Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

Below is a detail of the kitty in the lower left corner:

In looking at this scene from the Garden of Eden, Zuffi observes:

The entire scene ought to inspire love and harmony, as well as wonder at a virgin world that does not know sin: instead very close to the main scene walks a big spotted cat carrying prey in its mouth.  Its bristling whiskers indicate the predator's satisfaction with a successful hunt.  In Bosch's Earthly Paradise, the cat symbolizes the arrival of evil, even before the tempting serpent appears on the scene.

My take? Cats were present in the Garden of Eden, and a fine addition they were.  Much better than the flawed humans who proceeded to screw things up.

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