Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cats in Art: The Painter's Studio (Courbet)

[Sorry for no post past week]

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 Gustave Courbet web site, The Artist's Studio, Gustave Courbet, 1855, oil on canvas, 141" x 232", held by Musee d'Orsay, Paris, France.

From the artist web site:

The enormous Studio is without doubt Courbet's most mysterious composition. However, he provides several clues to its interpretation: "It's the whole world coming to me to be painted", he declared, "on the right, all the shareholders, by that I mean friends, fellow workers, art lovers. On the left is the other world of everyday life, the masses, wretchedness, poverty, wealth, the exploited and the exploiters, people who make a living from death". 

And Bugler's analysis:

Although Courbet wrote about the symbolic role of all the figures played ion this vast composition, he said virtually nothing about the cat; this has encouraged scholars to come up with a variety of theories to explain its presence.

My pet theory: Courbet liked cats.

Which brings me to the kitty close-up, from front and center of the painting:

Just for kicks, let's contrast this vibrant, colorful painting from a website dedicated to the painter, with the flat, gray version that appears on the website of the actual holder, the famous Musee d'Orsay in Paris:

The bride and I are fortunate to be traveling to Paris this fall, and will be able to stand in front of this huge painting--it's a stunning 12' tall and some 19' long--and survey it.  Wow, I can't wait!

[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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