Image credit The Louvre, The Ray, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1725, oil on canvas, 45" x 57", held by The Louvre, Paris, France.
And the kitty close-up:
Bugler tells us:
Chardin's early masterpiece is a painting in tow halves: on thee right are the kinds of humble kitchen utensil around which the artist constructed many still lives, and on the left is a tense drama played out between the kitten, making its way gingerly towards tow limp fish in the foreground, and the hideous ray or skate with an all-too-human face, grimacing menacingly in the background.
As for me, I found the kitten's face disturbing, mouth open, looking somewhat crazed (I like seafood too, but I hope I never approach it looking like this cat does!).
All in all, a dark and foreboding painting.
Zuffi also had this comment:
The secret and the magic of Chardin's paintings lie in their cold, sterile light, which seems to saturate objects, and in the intimate absorption that seems to endow them with a timeless existence. The only living presence--and it is very much alive, with its bristling fur and demonic eyes--is the cat, who is more interested in the fish placed on the table than in the hug sea monster in the background.
[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!]