Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cats in Art: The Meeting of Dante and Virgil (Stradano)

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. This is the second in my series featuring the art of Giovanni Stradano.

Image credit Arts Connected, The Meeting of Dante and Virgil, Giovanni Stradano, 1546-49, tapestry, 207" x 185", held by Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN.

Arts Connected provides some background:

The subject of the tapestry, the meeting of Dante and Virgil, reflects the renewed interest in Dante's work which occurred during the sixteenth century. In the episode illustrated, Dante has become lost in the Wood of Error, where he is confronted by three symbolic animals which menace his approach to the Holy Hill where Virgil waits to guide him through Hell and Purgatory. 

And here's a close up of the three animals that are blocking Dante's way.  Of course, two of the three are kitties...big, possibly dangerous kitties:

But as I look at the close-up of the cheetah, lion, and the dog-like animal, I just don't get a feeling of true menace or danger.  It's almost as though the three critters are pets or at least following along. Dante has stopped and they--seemingly fixated on his eyes--are just waiting to see where he is heading next.

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