Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cats in Art: Head of a Lion (Lewis)

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 my second post (of at least 5) on the cat art of John Frederick Lewis.




Image credit Tate Britain, Head of a Lion, John Frederick Lewis, 1824, watercolor, 13" x 10", held by Tate Britain Museum.

The museum website tells us a bit about Lewis:

One of several studies of lions and other animals made by Lewis in the 1820s and engraved by him at the same time. Gilbey quotes from the Sporting Magazine for 1824 a description of Lewis as ‘a young artist of considerable promise, who has recently made some very splendid studies of lions, which for their merit have been considered worthy of being added to the collections of Sir John E. Swinburne, Bart., and the President of the Royal Academy’, i.e. Sir Thomas Lawrence.

My thoughts?  This is an absolutely magnificent rendering of an African lion.  Though the lion seems a bit tired or weary, Lewis captures the regal essence of this huge cat.  This very week I was just at the National Zoo in Washington DC, and of course went pretty much straight to the big cats.  There I was able to observe their lions.  They, too, had that sort of wistful, world-weary look that we see here.  Likely Lewis' subject lion was in captivity as well.

One other observation: the Tate Museum is not currently displaying thgis watercolor.  Makes me sad to think that it is stored in a drawer somewhere rather than being hung for the world to appreciate.

[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!]



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Cats in Art: A Turkish School in the Vicinity of Cairo (Lewis)

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).


Image credit Artcyclopedia, who linked to Victoria and Albert Museum, A Turkish School in the Vicinity of Cairo, John Frederick Lewis, 1865, watercolor on paper, 13" x 17", held by Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

And the kitty close-up, from over there at the right foreground:



Bugler's comments:

The familiar Victorian schoolroom scene is transposed to Egypt, where the cat had ruled supreme for millennia, so it is only right that the animal should be accorded pride of place, in a sunny spot next to the schoolmaster.

My thinking is, well, duh--of course the cat gets to sit up front!  But moreover, this painting is a busy kaleidoscope of colors and themes. It is simply a busy, busy scene...whose fervor is so nicely tempered by the serene presence of the kitty up front with the master.  

[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!]

Monday, May 8, 2017

Cats in Art: First Steps or The Nourishing Mother (Gerard)

[Gary note: sorry, this should have posted yesterday]

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 fifth of several posts on the art of Marguerite Gerard.



Image credit Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard Villa-MuseumFirst Steps or The Nourishing Mother, Marguerite Gerard, 1803, oil on wood, dimensions unspecified.

And the (unfortunately not sharp) kitty close-up:



At least one can see that the cat, hiding under a jacket or blanket, is alert and involved in what is happening with its human family.  And with a very long tail.

Look at the lighting.  While the background is dark and nondescript, the two women are strongly bathed in ethereal light, as, of course, is the baby taking its first steps.  And the cat, even though partially covered, is also the recipient of the warm light, according it equal status with the three people.  

I find it fascinating that Gerard added this cat to this painting--makes it seem like this one was a particularly loved family pet.  

[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!]