Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cats in Art: The Love Potion (De Morgan)

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 The De Morgan Foundation, The Love Potion, Evelyn De Morgan, 1903, 40" x 21", oil on canvas, held by The De Morgan Center, London.

And the kitty close-up, where the surprised cat eschewed posing in the standard lower left corner, for the lower right:

Bugler's analysis:

All is not what it seems in this picture.  The black cat is one of the witch's traditional attributes, but the femme fatale concocting a love potion hardly fits the conventional stereotype of the elderly, ugly sorceress....So in this picture the black cat is an alchemic creature of the night (and an ironic comment on the idea of the witch), and the red lions on the tapestry represent the wisdom of Christianity, while the woman's golden robe indicates her spirituality.

As the proud "owner" of a  black cat whom we call Ca Beere, I am smitten by this young kitten.  De Morgan captures the cat's eyes and facial expression just right.  I feel pretty sure that De Morgan must have had cats of her own.  

This is our Ca Beere.  She lost most of her tail to an infection early on, but it seems not to be sensitive to the touch.  The only lasting effect seems to be that she frequently misses some of her leaps, presumably due to the lack of a balancing/ruddering tail.

That said, for lack of a better term, Ca Beere is the sweetest kitty I have ever known.  Meaning that she is totally invested in her people--meowing, rubbing, trying to get your face--than any cat I've sever seen.  It's as though, to paraphrase the Edgar Allen Poe poem Annabelle Lee:

And this maiden she lived with no other thought 
Than to love and be loved by me.

[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!]

No comments:

Post a Comment