Study of a Cat Jacob Jordaens (Antwerp 1593-1678) oil on paper, laid down on card 6¼ x 4 5/8 in. (15.8 x 11.5 cm.) Private Collection cats in art, best cat art, cats in art

Study of a Cat
Jacob Jordaens (Antwerp 1593-1678)
oil on paper, laid down on card
Private Collection

By the 1590’s, the Baroque style, which would become the preeminent style of the 17th century, was just beginning to spread across Europe. Noted for its dramatic use of light and shadow to emphasize emotions, the style, through its energy and movement, expressed power and control.  Favored by the church, the main patron of art at the time, the easily understood Baroque style conveyed the church’s religious, moral and ethical messages to the common people.  Large “stage set” compositions of the Renaissance gave way to more intimate, close-up scenes.  Self portraits became popular and portraiture in general became less formal. 

Through their extensive trade, it was the Dutch who ruled the 17th century European economy.  And, with this new found wealth, it was the rich Dutch merchants who employed and sponsored Dutch and Flemish artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, and Judith Leyster. 

The 17th century cat became an often seen pet in the paintings of the time used as a metaphor for motherhood, domesticity and licentiousness. 


Following is an alphabetical list of artists who have included cats in their paintings:  




Mary Beale (1633-1699, English)


Pieter Boel (1626-1674, Flemish)




Govaert Dircksz Camphuysen (1624-1672, Dutch)


Annibale Carrcci (1560-1609, Italian)


Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin (1699-1779, French)


Guiseppe Crespi (1665-1747, Italian)




Cornelis Danckerts (the elder)(1603-1656, Dutch)


David de Conink (1644-1687, Flemish)


John de Critz (1551/2-1642, Flemish)


Cornelis de Man (1621-1706, Dutch)


Cornelis de Vos (1584-1651, Dutch)


Domenichino  see Domenico Zampieri 


Gerard Dou (Gerrit Dow)(1613-1675, Dutch)




Georg Flegel (1566-1638, German)

Jan Fyt (1611-1661, Flemish)




Frans Hals (1582-1666, Dutch)


Wenzel Hollar (1607-1677, Czech (Bohemian))




Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678, Flemish)




Bernhard Keil (1624-1687, Danish)



Giovanni Lanfranco (1582-1647, Italian)


Charles Le Brun (1619-1690, French)


Louis Le Nain  (1593-1648, French)


Judith Leyster (1609-1660, Dutch)



Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693, Dutch)


Gabriël Metsu (1629-1667, Dutch)


Abraham Mignon (1640-1679, Dutch)


Jan Miense Molenar (1610-1668, Dutch)




Christoph Paudiss (1630-1666, Bavarian)


Clara Peeters (1594-1657, Flemish)


Paulus Potter (1625-1654, Dutch)





Guiseppe Recco (1634-1695, Italian)


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640, Flemish)




Cornelis Saftleven (1607-1681, Dutch)


Tommaso Salini (1575-1625, Italian)


Frans Snyders (1579-1657, Flemish)


Jan Steen (1626-1679, Dutch)


Sebastian Stoskopff (1597-1657, Alsatian)




Abraham Teniers (1629-1670, Flemish)



Jan Hermansz Van Bijlert (1597-1671, Dutch)


Eglon Henderich Van Der Neer (1605-1703, Dutch)


Samuel Van Hoogstraten (1627-1678, Dutch)


Jan Van Kessel (1626-1679, Flemish)


Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669, Dutch)


Otto Van Veen (1556-1629, Flemish)


Cornelius Visscher (1629-1662, Dutch)




Domenico Zampieri  (1581-1642, Italian)


Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 


Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats

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