Sunday, May 20, 2018

Cats in Art: Head of a Mewing Cat (Oudry)

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 had 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 the first of at least two posts on the cat art of Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

Image credit PinterestHead of a Cat Mewing, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, early 1700s, black chalk, pastel with white highlights, 6" x 6", held by the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 

And today no kitty close-up is warranted!

The analysis in the Vitoux and Foucart-Walter book Cats in the Louvre:

Bearing [sic] its little pointed teeth and with his whiskers every which way, the face of this puling cat is little short of terrifying.  It is so true to life that surely it was drawn from nature.  And yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Oudry quite simply copied it from a study showing several animals, including this cat's head [by Pieter Boel, held by "the museum at Alencon"].  

Did you notice the image credit?  I can almost hear you saying, "Pinterest, really??!!"  Again I've encountered one of the vagaries of the Internet: diligent search of the web, to include the Louvre website, uncovered no primary sources for this image.  I could only find sites like Pinterest and art reproduction sites.

Also did you notice the tiny size of the chalk sketch?  Only 6" square, yet all that marvelous kitty detail!

All I can say is that I wouldn't want to have to give flea meds--or any meds--to this particular kitty.  I value my life and limb a tad too much.

[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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