Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cats in Art: A Painter's Studio (Ryckaert)

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.

Today is the first of 4 posts on the cat art of David III Ryckaert.

Image credit Wikimedia CommonsA Painter's Studio, David III Ryckaert, 1638, oil on panel, 23" x 37", held by The Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

And the kitty close-up:

From the Cats in the Louvre book by Frederic Vitoux and Elisabeth Foucart-Walter:

As an adroit animal, handily able to thread his way without danger among objects of all kinds--even the most valuable--a  cat is quite at home in an artist's studio.  He can moreover, make himself useful in exterminating mice, which are all too fond of canvas and similar materials.   
The one we see here snoozing on the bare floor just beside the painter at his easel is perhaps exhausted after a long night spent chasing pesky rodents.  He is shown coiled into a ball, in a particularly well-observed attitude.

OK, I gotta pick a bit: this cat is a calico and therefore a female (we've had a pair of calicos so this is near and dear to my heart!).  Nevertheless, the description is likely otherwise correct.  Although--let me quibble again--it is not at all certain that the kitty was mousing all night.  In fact, chances are that she is just doing the lazy cat routine, simply working on her daily 19 hours of sleep.

Perhaps these medieval cats really were not mousers so much as dear companions and muses for their human artist friends.

This work's subject or title is a popular one.  Previously here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 10 year old human being) I've featured this pair of posts:
The Painter's Studio, by Jose del Castillo, on 27 May 2012 
The Artist's Studio, by Gustave Courbet, on 12 Aug 2012

[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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