Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cats in Art: The Laundress (Chardin)

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.   This is the second of several posts on the art of Chardin.

Image credit Arthermitage website, The Laundress, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1730, oil on canvas, 15" x 17", held by The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

And the kitty close-up:

From the Arthermitage website:

Painted in the 1730s, The Laundress is a masterpiece by Jean-Simeon Chardin, who took much pleasure in depicting scenes from the life of the ordinary people who inhabited the poor craftsmen's areas of Paris. In the room where a young woman works hard scrubbing clothes in the tub, everything seems to be suffused with a sense of quiet and calm, an impression created thanks to the combination of many elements in the painting: the simple, strict composition, the symmetrically arranged objects, the alternation of areas of light and colour. One of the most marvellous things in the painting is the female figure seen through the door, the space around her filled with steam. Although we cannot identify the source of the light, we can guess from which direction it falls. The painting has a very restrained colour scheme, the artist selecting each colour very deliberately and using it with great care to give a fuller sense of each object's reality and solidity.

Art aside, the composition of the scene intrigues me--especially I like the way Chardin has captured way cats like to be with people, but at the same time not exactly be with people...i.e., nearby and ready to interact.  Provided it's advantageous to the kitty.

[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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