Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cats in Art: Freya Seeking Her Husband (Blommer)

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.

Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Freya seeking Her Husband, Nils Jakob Blommer, 1852, 52" x 77", oil on canvas, held by the National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.

The kitties in close up:

Bugler's comments:

An ancient Norse legend tells of Freya, the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, and wealth, whose chariot was pulled by tow large grey or blue cats.  One might imagine them as large semi-long haired Norwegian Forest Cats, but the two shown here are more like domestic shorthair tabbies, and they appear slightly uncomfortable in their heroic mythical role.

My take?  This is one, well, bizarre painting.  That's the only word that applies.  C'mon: much as I love kitties, a chariot full of babies pulled by a pair of housecats?  That's beyond strange, though the art itself is extremely well executed by Blommer.  

Poor Freya seems distant and bored, perhaps overwhelmed with her massive duties as goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, and wealth.  Or maybe it's the 7 children hanging all over her.  The cat on the left is pissed, while the right-hand cat--perhaps the more experienced one--seems to be accepting the "human stuff" in stride.

One final comment.  In Bugler's book the chariot faces to the left, while all images I can find on line show it as above, facing right.  Evidently in the book editing process a negative must have gotten reversed and no one caught it...except me, heroic art aficionado that I am!

[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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