Cats in 20th Century History and Art (Part 3-Picasso)

When not participating in dangerous flights and setting new records, the cat, just as it had done in previous centuries, played an integral part in art and photography. Enduring as a cultural and social icon, the cat symbolized femininity, sensuality, domesticity, lust, and evil. An essential ingredient for cultural and social commentary, the cat was […]

Cats in 20th Century History (Part 2-Kiddo, Fifi, Whoopsy and Patsy)

As in all man’s endeavors, the cat was destined to accompany him in flight as well. Kiddo, the stray hangar cat, was the first feline to cross the Atlantic in 1910.  Taken aboard the dirigible America at Atlantic City, New Jersey, Kiddo was meant to serve as a good luck charm, to enable the flight to […]

Cats in the 19th Century (Part 2 – First Cat Show)

Society as a whole began to change because of the taming and acceptance of domestic pets, and with it came many firsts.  The first public aquarium opened in London in 1875.  The first cat show was held in London’s Crystal Palace in 1871, and in 1895 New York’s Madison Square Garden welcomed the first national […]

Cats in the Enlightenment (Part 15 – Cats in Art – Gainsborough, Mind, Fragonard, Gerard

The English painter Thomas Gainsborough captured cats in art in his painting Six Studies of Cats (1765-70) which seems to be a bit reminiscent of Leonardo DaVinci’s studies of cats.   Even though Gainsborough preferred painting landscapes, he was a famous portrait artist.  An example of which is The Artist’s Daughters with a Cat (1759). The […]

Cats in the Enlightenment (Part 14 – Cats in Art – Perronneau, Crespi, Desportes)

CAT ARTISTS PERRONNEAU, CRESPI, DESPORTES The French painter Jean Baptiste Perronneau (1715-1783), specialized in portraits which were more prestigious and lucrative than landscapes.  Girl with a Kitten painted in 1745, shows a very pretty young girl holding a long haired grey cat, one of its paws held gently in her hand.  The grey of the […]

THE CAT IN SHAKESPEARE

The cat is referred to in many of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, albeit always negatively.  And it was Shakespeare who borrowed the name Tybalt from the fable Reynard the Fox, and used it in his play Romeo and Juliet, wherein Mercutio insultingly remarks that Tybalt is a “rat catcher” and the “king of cats.” He also […]

Cat Poems – Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats, Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060AD)

During the latter part of the T’ang and Sung Dynasties (618-1279 AD) Chinese cat poems and paintings became popular. Here Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060AD) writes a heartfelt poem to his dead cat.   Sacrifice to the Cat that Scared all the Rats When I had my Five White cat, The rats did not invade my books. This […]

CATS IN BAROQUE PAINTINGS (Part 2)

The Dutch painters of the golden age turned to realism instead of religious subjects, as portrait painting was much more lucrative. Dutch genre paintings tend to illustrate everyday life at all levels of society, and cats, essential to most households, are often in these still lifes and portraits. In The Katzen Familie (1650), the Dutch […]

THE CAT IN MANNERIST AND RELIGIOUS PAINTINGS

The Cat in Mannerist Paintings Paintings in the Mannerist style, an artistic movement which blossomed from the Renaissance, focused less on naturalistic portrayals.  Hans Baldung, a student of Albrecht Dürer, usually known for his renditions of profane witches, in a later allegorical Mannerist work entitled, Music (1484),   a harmless white cat sits next to […]

HISTORY OF THE CAT IN THE MIDDLE AGES (PART 13, THE CAT IN STRANGE INVENTIONS)

The Cat in Medieval Inventions: Not only were cats inspirations for paintings, but they also became the models for strange tortuous inventions.  In 1549, a cat organ was made in honor of Philip II of Brussels.  A large bear played the organ that contained up to twenty cats perched in separate compartments.  The parts of […]