Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cats in Art: Two Girls Decorating a Kitten (Wright)

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 Wikipedia, Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight, Joseph Wright of Derby, oil on canvas, 35" x 28", held by Kenwood House, London, England.

Note that this painting is alternatively called Two Girls Decorating a Kitten.  So here's the kitty close-up, and a woeful shot indeed it is:


Bugler comments:

The pictorial association of young girls with cats become commonplace in the 18th century.  Here, these two girls dress up a pet kitten in dolls' clothes, but the cat looks far from pleased with this new game....Extra drama is added to the narrative by the fact that is taking place by candlelight.

To which I add, "Oh, the indignity!"  But as I often say, that's the price our pets have to pay for domesticity.

Turns out I did this painting back in 2012 (link here).  Zuffi also loved this painting, as do I.

[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, February 12, 2017

Cats in Art: Gabrielle Arnault as a Child (Boilly)

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).

Following several weeks of the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari, we're moving on to the second week with Louis-Leopold Boilly from the period of the French Revolution.



Image credit Web Gallery of ArtGabrielle Arnault as a Child, Louis-Leopold Boilly, ca 1815, oil on canvas, 18" x 16", held by The Louvre, Paris, France.

And of course we need a kitty close-up:


At first I was going to refer to this cat as a scaredy-cat, but look at the expression again.  It is more of mild annoyance ("Isn't this over yet?") rather than fear.  Boilly does an exceptional job at working the nuances of feline facial expression and body language.  To say nothing of how well and realistically the cat's fur is painted, which is not an easy feat for an artist.  All in all, quite an exceptional job!

And even though she is not a cat, I cannot help but be dazzled by the rendering of Gabrielle: she seems to be a calm, placid child.  And those huge, expressive eyes!

As another aside, the bride and I will have the great fortune to visit Paris later in 2017, and of course we will spend as much time as practicable in the Louvre.  We certainly will pay a visit to the forever-young Gabrielle Arnault and her kitty.

[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, February 5, 2017

Cats in Art: The Dead Mouse (Boilly)

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).

Following several weeks of the cat art of Sebastiano Lazzari, we're moving on to at least a couple weeks with Louis-Leopold Boilly from the period of the French Revolution.




Image credit The Wallace Collection, The Dead Mouse, Louis-Leopold Boilly, ca 1790, oil on canvas, 16" x 12", held by The Wallace Collection, London.

And the kitty close-up:


Bugler's analysis:

Here, a young boy clings to his mother, recoiling in horror at the sight of the dead mouse teasingly dangled through the window.  The cat looks up eagerly at the offering, its predatory pose making an amusing contrast with that of the docile fluffy pet in Boilly's portrait of the young Gabrielle Arnault [that painting will becoming next week--Gary]

I've never been squeamish about mice or small critters so I have trouble sympathizing with people who freak out over such things.  But it's the cat who apparently thinks that  things are going to get just a tad more interesting around here.  I like how it is standing its ground despite the child's noise right behind him/her.  Good kitty!

Also, note that this painting is rather small--scarcely larger than a sheet of legal paper.  Yet Boilly manages to pack all that marvelous detail into such a compact space.

[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!]