Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (c. 1715 – 1783, French)

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (c. 1715 – 1783, French) is known as one of the most accomplished artists of the 18th century, especially in the use of pastels. Born in Paris, Perronneau began as an engraver and studied under Laurent Cars. In the 1740’s, he created his first portraits in oils and then pastels. In 1746, he exhibited his first pastel portrait at the Paris Salon and became a member of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1753. Perronneau traveled widely to fulfill requests for portraits, dying in Amsterdam virtually unknown.

He painted only three works with cats, all portraits of women. In Girl with a Kitten, 1745, the girl is artificially posed and the inclusion of the kitten is a symbol of uncontrollable nature pitted against the innocence of childhood.

1745-Jean-Baptiste Perronneau Girl with a Kitten

Girl with a Kitten


Jean-Baptiste Perronneau Girl with Kitten -detail, 1745

Girl with a Kitten
Detail, 1745

In the portrait of Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange, 1747, we see Mme. Pinceploup staring off into the distance in a regal manner. She is obviously from the upper classes, as her dress is accented by flowers, ribbons, and pearls. Mme. Pinceloup seems not to be at ease, as she is sitting straight up with her back away from the chair back. She is holding a large gray cat, probably a Chartreux, a French breed, included to bring attention to Mme. Pinceloup’s sophistication.  The bells around the cat’s neck reflect the pearls around Mme. Pinceloup’s, equating the cat to the woman, bringing to the forefront the eternal bond between women and cats.


Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (French Rococo Era Painter, ca.1715-1783) Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange, née de Parseval, 1747

Madame Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange


Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange, née de Parseval. 1747, detail of cat

Mme. Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange -Detail of cat


Jean-Baptiste_Perronneau_-_Madmoiselle_Huquier with kitten

Mlle. Huquier with Kitten


Want to know more about the cat in art, history and literature? Then this 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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