Sunday, April 9, 2017

Cats in Art: The Cat's Lunch (Gerard)

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.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

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!]

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