Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cats in Art: Wildcat Hunt Tapestry (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 third in a series of the art of Giovanni Stradano.

Image credit CODART, Wildcat Hunt Tapestry, Giovanni Stradano, tapestry (size information unavailable), held by Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.

The CODART page gives some background:

Cosimo I Medici employed Stradanus as designer for tapestries in the Arazzeria Medicea. The tapestries with hunting scenes, inspired by antique literature of Plini, Homer and Herodotos but also by hunting practice at the Florentine court, were destined for the villa at Poggio a Caiano and grew out to be a major success. As a consequence of their popularity, these Hunts were translated in prints; this marks the beginning of Stradanus’ activity as designer of prints. In collaboration with the renowned printmakers in Antwerp, Hieronymus Cock and the Galle family, Stradanus produced a vast amount of prints in series with profane and religious subjects. Through the combination of his knowledge and insight in the courtly Florentine and Italian culture and his contacts with the internationally oriented engravers and editors in Antwerp, Stradanus played an important role in the history of the art of printmaking.

Now this for me is a very disturbing image: the hunting of cats.  For sport.  How sick is that?

For example, below is a close up of what's up the tree in the center: a pair of small kitties (sorry for the distortion and fuzziness):

Looking around the whole image, you'll see that the cats are seemingly all house cats, or at the most bobcats.  No lions or other big cats, just rather small ones. 

Which renders the macho hunting thereof rather, well, very unmacho.

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