Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cats in Art: Jupiter and Antiope... (Sellaer)

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.

Image credit The AthenaeumJupiter as a Satyr with Antiope, Queen of Thebes, with their Twins Amphion and Zethos, Vincent Sellaercirca 1550, oil on panel, 55" x 40", held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Unfortunately, we did not see this painting in person, but a bizarre one indeed it is: a near-naked goddess, four cherubic children, one cat, and what appears to be a devil or some such up there in the upper right.  Well, duh, I guess he's Jupiter, and a satyr, given the title of the piece.

The analysis from Frederic Vitoux and Elisabeth Foucart-Walter, authors of Cats in the Louvre:

In spite of his apparent indifference to the scene, the animal certainly plays a role in the meaning of work.  With the strange painterly realism and tactile sensuality he exudes, he might readily be interpreted as an emblem of lust and thus be singularly at home in this inventive evocation of an outlandish tale from the loves of the gods.

I have a different idea, based upon the kitty close-up:

Not quite unhappy enough, the kitty is looking for a break and will bolt fairly soon.  Trust me, I know cats.  They have tells.  As for the notion that the kitty represents lust?  Not quite buying it.  This docile cat got sucked into this goat-rope and will soon be outta there.

[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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