Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cats in Art: Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child (Le Brun)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.

And the  mandatory kitty close-up, this feline being found in the lower right corner.  Perhaps Le Brun was dyslexic and thought he painted this lovely feline in the lower left?

Image credit The Atheneum Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child, Charles Le Brun, 1655, oil on canvas, 34" x 46", held by The Louvre, Paris, France.

Comments from Bugler:

The Virgin raises a finger to her lips to hush the youthful John the Baptist so that he does not wake the baby.  But the Christ Child sleeps on, his pose foreshadowing that seen in many paintings of the dead Christ in his mother's lap following the Crucifixion.  For now, however, he is blissfully unaware of anything, least of all the cat dozing under the brazier.  Its eyes half closed, it encapsulates the spirit of somnolence, lending an aura of peaceful calm to the scene.

Couple of my comments: This painting is variously called The Sleeping Christ, or Holy Family with the Adoration of the Child.  Again, and I've made this point before, this is quite common the world of art history, for unless a particular artist specifically wrote down a title, it often fell to future generations to supply a convenient or descriptive one.

And as for the sleepy kitty, I have no reason to believe that house cats of the Middle Ages needed any less sleep than the 19 hours daily that cat experts tell us is typical of cats of today.

In fact, when the bride or I am looking for one of our cats, and asks something like, "Where's Ca Beere?" or "Where's Amanda?", the response is likely to be, "She's working on her 19 hours."

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

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