Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cats in Art: Peasant Woman With a Cat

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


Today is the third of 4 posts on the cat art of David III Ryckaert, plus a personal note at the end.





Image credit The Hermitage Museum, Peasant Woman With a CatDavid III Ryckaert, ca 1640, 11" x 14", oil on canvas (transferred from panel), held by The State Hermitage Museum, At. Petersburg, Russia.


 And the kitty close-up:


From The Hermitage website:


David Ryckaert III was a follower of the celebrated master of genre painting Adriaen Brouwer. The Hermitage's pair of paintings by Ryckaert owe both their subject and their composition to works by Brouwer: Peasant Woman with a Cat to Brouwer's Woman with a Cat. In the Hermitage painting Ryckaert added amusing details: the old woman is feeding porridge on a spoon to the cat that is wrapped in a blanket like an infant. The painting Peasant with a Dog derives from Brouwer's work Good Friends, which also depicts a peasant with a dog. In Ryckaert's canvas, however, the subject is expanded with the motif of training the animal: the elderly man is holding the little dog by the paw and giving it the command "Sit!". David Ryckaert III's genre scenes have at the same time a hidden metaphorical meaning. The painting of Peasant with a Dog can be interpreted as an "allegory of the sense of touch" and its companion piece as an "allegory of taste".

So....never knew how much kitties loved oatmeal.  The poor cat looks positively stricken.  Oh, the indignities and price they pay for domesticity!


On an unrelated note, the origins of this blog were in ultrarunning, then I began to mix in some politics and philosophy, then the last couple of years it's been exclusively dedicated to Cats in Art.  People change, I've changed, and what was once important has less importance now.

But I did want to note a particular milestone that I had yesterday: I've satisfied a promise I made to myself some 29 years ago, in 1989. 

My 66 year old dad died of congestive heart failure that spring, when I was gearing up for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Dad's health had been poor for years due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.  At the funeral I told myself that I would still be running marathons when I was that age. Well, having just turned 66, it was time to put up or shut up. 

Yesterday’s Western Maryland Rail Trail Marathon in Hancock MD went very well for me. Course was 6.5 miles, out-and-back on a rail trail, so back to the start was 13. Then we did it again...so all in all we covered the same segment 4 times to yield the marathon distance of 26 miles. It was wooded and pretty, so there was no boredom factor. 

I ran the first 3 legs continuously but slowly at around 11 min pace. Then as I tired out on the final segment I mixed in a 4 minute walking break at each mile mark. 

Finish time was 5:22, so it's obvious that my speed is nothing to write home about (my personal best is 3:26).

So, a promise made and fulfilled, and a fitting tribute to my father.


Monday, April 9, 2018

Cats in Art: A Peasant Couple at a Spinning Wheel by a Fire (Ryckaert)

Gary Note: Sorry this is a day late, life interfering with blogging again)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


Today is the second of 4 posts on the cat art of David III Ryckaert.





Image credit Artnet, A Peasant Couple at a Spinning Wheel by a Fire,

 David III Ryckaert (or a follower thereof), oil on canvas, 22" x 18", holder unspecified. 

And the kitty close-up, perhaps facing off against the canine over there to the right:





This painting seems routine enough: a plain couple doing regular stuff.  The only actions seems to be the cat at the bottom left, who is either alarmed at something or is scampering in play.  The resolution, unfortunately, is poor, but to me the cat is not looking at the dog in repose but rather seems to be looking at something past the dog and more to the front....an object that will forever remain unknown.

As for provenance of this work, I cannot seem to find any info beyond stumbling onto the image on Artnet.  Perhaps it is titled differently and/or not attracted to Ryckaert.  Just another example of some dead-end detective work in art history that makes my Cats in Art series so interesting (at at times frustrating!).

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cats in Art: A Painter's Studio (Ryckaert)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.


Today is the first of 4 posts on the cat art of David III Ryckaert.



Image credit Wikimedia CommonsA Painter's Studio, David III Ryckaert, 1638, oil on panel, 23" x 37", held by The Louvre Museum, Paris, France. 


And the kitty close-up:


From the Cats in the Louvre book by Frederic Vitoux and Elisabeth Foucart-Walter:

As an adroit animal, handily able to thread his way without danger among objects of all kinds--even the most valuable--a  cat is quite at home in an artist's studio.  He can moreover, make himself useful in exterminating mice, which are all too fond of canvas and similar materials.   
The one we see here snoozing on the bare floor just beside the painter at his easel is perhaps exhausted after a long night spent chasing pesky rodents.  He is shown coiled into a ball, in a particularly well-observed attitude.

OK, I gotta pick a bit: this cat is a calico and therefore a female (we've had a pair of calicos so this is near and dear to my heart!).  Nevertheless, the description is likely otherwise correct.  Although--let me quibble again--it is not at all certain that the kitty was mousing all night.  In fact, chances are that she is just doing the lazy cat routine, simply working on her daily 19 hours of sleep.

Perhaps these medieval cats really were not mousers so much as dear companions and muses for their human artist friends.

This work's subject or title is a popular one.  Previously here at Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 10 year old human being) I've featured this pair of posts:
The Painter's Studio, by Jose del Castillo, on 27 May 2012 
The Artist's Studio, by Gustave Courbet, on 12 Aug 2012

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]


Sunday, March 25, 2018

A departure from normal here today.  Some friends recently went to near Myrtle Beach, SC, where they took several images of cat sculptures for me, knowing that I am always on the lookout for Cat art for Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 10 year old human being).

Here is what Bonnie told me:

Today we visited Brookgreen Gardens near Murrells Inlet.  It is amazing and has quite a story to go with it.  One huge part showcases the work of American Sculpters and another is all about the rice plantation and the history of the slaves working in the swamps to grow rice.  The last part is a zoo with natural habitats of animals native to the area.  There is much more, but the reason I am telling you this is that we searched everywhere we visited today for sculptures of cats.  They even had a children’s garden but not many cats.  I am sending pics of some of the works I did find (mostly big cats).


Image credit Bonnie of sculpture The Lion, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Bronze, 1930, held by Brookgreen Gardens, SC.




Image credit Bonnie of sculpture The Chant, Paul Herzel, Bronze, 1914, held by Brookgreen Gardens, SC.




Image credit Bonnie of sculpture Play, George H. Snowden, Bronze, 1934, held by Brookgreen Gardens, SC.

Don't have any real insights other than these sculptures are really nice.  I particularly like the first lion above, patiently and faithfully watching over its kingdom.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cats in Art: The Fruit and Vegetable Seller (Moillon)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.





Image credit The Athenaeum, The Fruit and Vegetable Seller, Louise Moillon, 1630, oil on canvas, 47" x 66", held by The Louvre, Paris, France.

And the kitty close-up:




Again the bride and I did not lay eyes on this actual painting.  This poor kitty would love to have been "owned" by say a fish or meat seller....but no, the mistress had to sell veggies and fruits.  Not a very thrilling lifestyle, but obviously the cat got something out of the deal.

The contrast between the women is striking: the higher society purchaser on the left, as evidenced by her fine clothing, and the common woman fruit and vegetable seller to the right.  No eye contact, just a transaction.  But the seller has the kitty, so she is the winner.


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Cats in Art: Visit to Grandmother (Le Nain)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is post 4 of 4 on the art of the Le Nain brothers, Louis, Antoine and Mathieu.



Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Visit to Grandmother, ca 1645, Louis, Antoine and Mathieu Le Nain, oil on canvas, 22" x 30", held by The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.


And under the chair to the left, a dark, pensive kitty, lurking mysterious and unknown....the essence of catness.

This image runs counter to most of the Le Main paintings I have looked at: this one quite dark, literally.  I suspect that the darkness stems from years of hanging in smoky conditions rather than a deliberate attempt to be shrouded in shade.  

One final comments on the Le Nain Brothers, who art historians believed collaborated on many paintings.  I wonder if, say, Louis, told his brothers, "I'm the face and hands guy.  I do all the faces and hands, nobody else!"  And perhaps Antoine may have said, "I'll handle all of the bodies and the backgrounds.  I'm better at the human form, but somebody has to do the setting, so I guess that's me." And that leaves Mathieu, who may have said, "I'll handle the kitties.  I got this."

Bless Mathieu's heart.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]



Sunday, March 4, 2018

Cats in Art: A Peasant Family (Le Nain)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is post 3 of 4 on the art of the Le Main brothers, Louis, Antoine and Mathieu.



Image credit Wikimedia Commons, A Peasant Family, the Le Nain brothers, ca 1640, oil on copper, image size unspecified, held in a private collection.


This poor kitty is surrounded by 5 humans whose feet are right there, and one is even playing a musical instrument.  Enough to make any cat cringe like this one is doing.

The painting is bright and airy, the peasants depicted all appear to be healthy and fairly happy looking, so all in all a very pleasant image.  Just have to work on making that cat a tad more relaxed and confident.


[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cats in Art: Children with a Cage of Birds and a Cat (Le Nain)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.  You really should check out and/or own both of these wonderful works, easily available on Amazon or eBay (and I have no financial interest).

The bride and I just returned from a wonderful vacation in France this fall where we were privileged to see both the Louvre and Orsay Museums.  Of the two, the Orsay was much better--less crowded, could get closer to the paintings, more cats.

This is post 2 of 4 on the art of the Le Main brothers, Louis, Antoine and Mathieu.   Here is what is commonly known about this painting trio of collaborative artists, whose individual works are not well distinguished.

The National Gallery of the UK tells us:


The three Le Nain brothers, Antoine, Louis and Mathieu, are now best known for their scenes of peasant life, and small-scale portraits. They worked in collaboration and it is not possible to distinguish their individual hands.

And from the site Visual Arts Cork:


A major contributor to French painting during the first half of the 17th century, the Le Nain Brothers based themselves on the tradition of the Netherlandish Renaissance - notably Dutch Realist Genre Painting - rather than the more classical Baroque painting of Rome. Like the art of Dutch Realist artists from Leiden, Amsterdam and Delft - which they interpreted with a French eye - the Le Nain brothers specialized in genre painting and portrait art (typically of peasants, beggars and artisans) which they executed with a realism unique for their day. Their subjects are invariably portrayed with great dignity and composure. Precise details of the brothers' lives are unknown, as is the extent of their individual contributions to their (mostly) collaborative works. 




Image credit Wikimedia Commons, Children With a Cage of Birds and a Catthe Le Nain Brothers, ca 1646, oil on canvas, 56.5 x 44 cm, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Germany.




I personally cannot seem to make out any birds in the cage, though my eyes are certainly not what they once were.  Maybe there's an avian critter waaaaaay over on the right in the cage....but you'd have to actually stand in front of this painting to tell for sure. And to do that you would have to visit the town of Karlsruhe, Germany and the Kunsthalle Museum.  Sounds like a road trip to me!

Even the cat seems to not be reacting to a caged bird.  The kitty seems pretty out of it.

[Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!]