Peter Paul Reubens Detail of cat in Annunciation, 1577, cats in art

Peter Paul Reubens
Detail of cat in Annunciation, 1577

The 16th century saw the rise of the Renaissance which spread from Italy throughout the rest of Europe and culminated in new art styles such as the High Renaissance and Mannerism.  Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Albrecht Durer, El Greco, Titian, Annibale Carracci  and Federico Barocci form the basis of art during this time period with many of the works being of a religious nature.  Many of these artists included cats in their compositions either as a symbol of the devil and/or evil, or as a symbol of motherhood and fertility, and perhaps even that of the essential rat catcher.  During this period the cat was also included in Books of Hours and Bestiaries seen in typical cat poses such as licking itself or fighting a dog.



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