Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cats in Art: Peasant Woman With a Cat

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 third of 4 posts on the cat art of David III Ryckaert, plus a personal note at the end.

Image credit The Hermitage Museum, Peasant Woman With a CatDavid III Ryckaert, ca 1640, 11" x 14", oil on canvas (transferred from panel), held by The State Hermitage Museum, At. Petersburg, Russia.

 And the kitty close-up:

From The Hermitage website:

David Ryckaert III was a follower of the celebrated master of genre painting Adriaen Brouwer. The Hermitage's pair of paintings by Ryckaert owe both their subject and their composition to works by Brouwer: Peasant Woman with a Cat to Brouwer's Woman with a Cat. In the Hermitage painting Ryckaert added amusing details: the old woman is feeding porridge on a spoon to the cat that is wrapped in a blanket like an infant. The painting Peasant with a Dog derives from Brouwer's work Good Friends, which also depicts a peasant with a dog. In Ryckaert's canvas, however, the subject is expanded with the motif of training the animal: the elderly man is holding the little dog by the paw and giving it the command "Sit!". David Ryckaert III's genre scenes have at the same time a hidden metaphorical meaning. The painting of Peasant with a Dog can be interpreted as an "allegory of the sense of touch" and its companion piece as an "allegory of taste".

So....never knew how much kitties loved oatmeal.  The poor cat looks positively stricken.  Oh, the indignities and price they pay for domesticity!

On an unrelated note, the origins of this blog were in ultrarunning, then I began to mix in some politics and philosophy, then the last couple of years it's been exclusively dedicated to Cats in Art.  People change, I've changed, and what was once important has less importance now.

But I did want to note a particular milestone that I had yesterday: I've satisfied a promise I made to myself some 29 years ago, in 1989. 

My 66 year old dad died of congestive heart failure that spring, when I was gearing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Dad's health had been poor for years due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  At the funeral I told myself that I would still be running marathons when I was that age. Well, having just turned 66, it was time to put up or shut up. 

Yesterday’s Western Maryland Rail Trail Marathon in Hancock MD went very well for me. Course was 6.5 miles, out-and-back on a rail trail, so back to the start was 13. Then we did it all in all we covered the same segment 4 times to yield the marathon distance of 26 miles. It was wooded and pretty, so there was no boredom factor. 

I ran the first 3 legs continuously but slowly at around 11 min pace. Then as I tired out on the final segment I mixed in a 4 minute walking break at each mile mark. 

Finish time was 5:22, so it's obvious that my speed is nothing to write home about (my personal best is 3:26).

So, a promise made and fulfilled, and a fitting tribute to my father.

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