Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cats in Art: Children with a Cage of Birds and a Cat (Le Nain)

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 this fall 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 post 2 of 4 on the art of the Le Main brothers, Louis, Antoine and Mathieu.   Here is what is commonly known about this painting trio of collaborative artists, whose individual works are not well distinguished.

The National Gallery of the UK tells us:

The three Le Nain brothers, Antoine, Louis and Mathieu, are now best known for their scenes of peasant life, and small-scale portraits. They worked in collaboration and it is not possible to distinguish their individual hands.

And from the site Visual Arts Cork:

A major contributor to French painting during the first half of the 17th century, the Le Nain Brothers based themselves on the tradition of the Netherlandish Renaissance - notably Dutch Realist Genre Painting - rather than the more classical Baroque painting of Rome. Like the art of Dutch Realist artists from Leiden, Amsterdam and Delft - which they interpreted with a French eye - the Le Nain brothers specialized in genre painting and portrait art (typically of peasants, beggars and artisans) which they executed with a realism unique for their day. Their subjects are invariably portrayed with great dignity and composure. Precise details of the brothers' lives are unknown, as is the extent of their individual contributions to their (mostly) collaborative works. 

Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Children With a Cage of Birds and a Catthe Le Nain Brothers, ca 1646, oil on canvas, 56.5 x 44 cm, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany.

I personally cannot seem to make out any birds in the cage, though my eyes are certainly not what they once were.  Maybe there's an avian critter waaaaaay over on the right in the cage....but you'd have to actually stand in front of this painting to tell for sure. And to do that you would have to visit the town of Karlsruhe, Germany and the Kunsthalle Museum.  Sounds like a road trip to me!

Even the cat seems to not be reacting to a caged bird.  The kitty seems pretty out of it.

[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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