This is first of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.
Image credit Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-Museum, The Cat's Lunch (or Young Girl Giving Milk to Her Cat), Marguerite Gerard, ca 1800, oil on canvas, 24" x 19", held by Jean-Honoré Fragonard Villa-Museum, France.
And the kitty close-up:
Bugler tells us:
The charming owner of this splendid tortoiseshell and white cat is actually kneeling in front of her enthroned pet to offer up a dish of milk, under the envious eye of the dog. The canine and feline pairing occurs in another of Gerard's paintings, Prelude to a Concert, while The Angora Cat, painted in collaboration with Jean-Honore Fragonard, shows a cat baffled by its reflection in a convex mirror. [Gary note: these two paintings will be featured over the next couple weeks as we dig deeper into the cat art of Marguerite Gerard]
Here are my comments. First, this cat is a BEAST, sized more like a lynx or a bobcat. Its head is about the same size as that of the girl. Plus, the cat is really annoyed, despite the milk: just take a look at the flattened ears. Probably because of the overeager dog sitting beside the girl, hoping for a treat or a cat fight.
That said, Gerard somehow manages to have the painting project almost an air of tranquility or serenity, even with the obvious canine-feline potential for disaster. The lighting, the colors, the girl, and the overall mood of the painting manage to dissuade the viewer from feeling anxious about the subject matter.
[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!]