More Cats in Art …

Just a quick couple of additions to the genre after a visit to the Prinsenhof in Delft. In addition to the legendary bullet holes in the wall (embedded after they had passed through the body of William the Silent (alas!) in 1584, and which I’d wanted to see ever since A-level history 50 years ago), it contains many fascinating paintings, maps and artefacts illustrating the gradual emergence of the Dutch Republic.

The marks left by the fatal bullets on the staircase …

… and a later, melodramatic, ‘reconstruction’ of the assassination.

In this allegory of the wars (artist unknown, but painted between 1600 and 1650), I regret to say that the doughty Dutch farmer, used to both drought and flood, is confronting a further peril, the aggressive (and most likely unpaid) soldier, who was expected to live off the land over which he was marching. The farmer is accompanied in defence of his property by his faithful dog, while the armed plunderer, surrounded by his loot, has at his side a fat, and extremely malign-looking cat.

The confrontation between lean dog and fat cat. Note the purple and orange carrots among the haul – it is claimed that carrots were purple until the patriotic Dutch bred orange ones.

The other cat appears in a Dutch interior by Cornelis de Man (1621–1706), painted about 1666. The only other figure in the picture is a woman sweeping in the corridor, and the cat appears to be playing with an egg – an emblem of carelessness or waste?

Ratty tail, odd eyes and ears …

Look at the gorgeous carpet on the table, and the sheen of the fabric on the chair …

And – nothing to do with Delft – I thought I’d throw in a couple of oddities from a recent auction catalogue (perk of the job…).

Still life of fish and a cat, by Jacob Gillig of Utrecht (1636–1701). Is the cat chained to limit depredations?

Still life by Francesco Bossi (1753–1824). It is described as a trompe-l’oeil, but nobody’s eyes would be deceived by the cat …

The search continues …

Caroline

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4 Responses to More Cats in Art …

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