Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cats in Art: Puss in Boots (Millais)

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 the second of a pair of posts on the art of John Everett Mallais from the late 1800s.

Image credit The Athenaeum, Puss in Boots, John Everett Millais, 1877, oil on canvas, 42" x 31", held by The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum, Dundee, Scotland.

And the kitty close-up:

Oh, the indignity!!!  A cat, forced to wear boots!!!  

Tail up, the kitty is regarding the girl (its owner?), while the girl is steadily looking at the painter.  Cat toys appear on the floor, and the doll may be an object of interest as well for the cat.  However, relief from the hated boots is not coming anytime soon, it appears.

One can't help but think that this painting's colors must have deteriorated over the140 years since Millais painted it--the poor cat's upper half is virtually indistinguishable from the girl's dress or pillow, whatever is immediately behind the cat.  Surely Millais would not have painted brown-on-brown in this fashion...though perhaps what we are seeing is a reproduction failure in copying the painting to paper.

Guess a trip to Scotland is in order to actually stand in front of this painting and see what the colors really look like.  Road trip!

[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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