Sunday, October 2, 2016

Cats in Art: Interior of a Townhouse (de Man)

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.  

Last week I put up a repeat post from the brush of Cornelis de Man, a Dutch painter from the 1600s.  After diligent searching I was only able to uncover one other example of a de Man with a cat:

Image credit The Athenaeum, Interior of a Townhouse, Cornelis de Man, late 1600s, oil on canvas, size unspecified, held in a private collection.

And the kitty close-up of the distasteful confrontation down at the lower center:

My guess about this domestic scene is that the dog-cat encounter is not especially remarkable, because of the four humans nearby, one is engaged with wood for the fireplace, a man and a woman are talking to one another, and it is only the last woman over at the table on the right who even seems to (barely) notice the animal dispute...making me think that these two critters were often after each other.

Regardless, this is a great example of ordinary Dutch life.  In fact, the sheer ordinariness of the scene is what arrests me so: chatter, work at the kitchen table, stoking the fire, and a couple of pets seemingly trash-talking each other.

As I often say, too bad that this painting is hanging in somebody's private collection rather than in a museum.  It would be great to stand in front of this work and see it in three dimensions rather than two, to see the brush strokes, the thickness of the paint applied, to look at how the eyes and the hands (and of course, the fur!) are painted....

[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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