Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cats in Art: The Man and the Woman (Bonnard)

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).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is the third of several posts on the cat art of Pierre Bonnard.

Image credit Gary of painting at the Orsay MuseumThe Man and the WomanPierre Bonnard, 1900, 46" x 29", oil on canvas, held by Orsay Museum, Paris, France.

And the close-up of the kitties from over there on the left:

The analysis on the Orsay web site:

What strikes us immediately about the painting is its audacious structure—the screen which separates the two figures divides the work into a kind of diptych. Bonnard was particularly interested in and influenced by Japanese ukiyo-eprints. Indeed his nickname amongst the Nabis was ‘Le Nabi très japonard’ (‘the very Japanese Nabi’). Ukiyo-e prints often employ a diptych or triptych format, echoing a two- or three-part narrative structure—in one part something is going on, while in another something else is going on. In Bonnard’s image, each side of the canvas is treated quite differently. In the left ‘panel’ Marthe is proportionally quite small. Emphasis is given to the subtle articulation of her skin tones, while there is a deliberate contrapuntal balancing of the massed base of the bed upon which the cats play, and the image of the painting above Marthe’s head. On the right we have the elongated form of Bonnard himself....

What I note from personal experience is that whenever the bride and I are in bed, we are an irresistible cat magnet.  Our cats come charging from wherever they may be in the house to rush the bedroom, launch themselves into the air onto the bed, and attempt to take over the space.  Evidently Bonnard was well acquainted with cats (judging from the number of paintings he placed cats in) and had to have been a cat "owner."

[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!]

No comments:

Post a Comment