Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cats in Art: The Toilet (Boucher)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.

Here for the second week in a row we have another piece from Francois Bouchet:

Image credit WikiPaintings (click to enlarge). The Toilet, Francois Boucher, 1742, oil on canvas, 21" x 30", held by Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain.

Zuffi's analysis:

The cat, playing slyly with the ball of thread at the lady's feet, is one of the customary amorous touches of which the artist was fond, like the love letter and the garters left absently on the mantlepiece.  It's mewing--barely hinted at--is further confirmation of its complicity, but also a delightful device to illustrate the presence of the painter who is portraying the lady and her maid.

The cat's expression is vey realistic to me, caught in the middle of play.  Boucher obviously knew his cats.  Put a hand down there and better be prepared for a scratch or play bite.

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