Gottfried Mind (1768-1814, Swiss) was also known as the Raphael of Cats because of his talent in depicting the cat in art. Mind was an autistic savant who throughout his life suffered from a weak constitution. As a child Mind came under the tutelage of the German artist Legel. Legel spent a lot of time with Mind and encouraged his artistic talent. Early on, Mind was interested in drawing animals, with lions being his favorite. Because his father thought drawing on paper a useless endeavor, Mind turned to working with wood and created many animal carvings. After spending a time in an academy for poor children, he came to study under the painter Sigmund Hendenberger. Mind learned how to draw and use watercolors even though he could barely write his name. Mind’s love affair with cats began when he saw a sketch that Hendenberger had created and criticized his drawing of the cat stating “That is no cat!” Hendenberger challenged Mind to draw it better, and he did. After Hendenberger’s death, Mind was free to develop his own style. Mind spent most of his time indoors owing to his poor health. There he had an array of domestic pets, but cats were his favorites. Often while painting, he would have a cat sitting on his back or on his shoulders as well as one on the table supervising his work. His close relationship with cats allowed him to sketch them with an elegance that caught their true natures. Mind was just 46 when he succumbed to his increasing poor health.
If you would like to purchase a Gottfried Mind print or poster, visit The Great Cat Store.