Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cats in Art: The Graham Children (Hogarth)

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.

Image credit Chez-Alice gallery, The Graham Children, William Hogarth, 1742, oil on canvas, 63" x 71", held by National gallery, London, England. 
Zuffi's comment:
In the history of English painting, cats, whether gentle or sly, are generally depicted in the laps of the rightful owners, who are women or girls.  This painting by Hogarth is a clear exception, for in the family group the viewer's attention is taken completely by they scene that is taking place on the right, under the amused and perhaps slightly sadistic gaze of the only boy.  The poor caged bird is terrified by the appearance of the cat, who must have reached the top of the armchair in a single bound.

To me the cat looks positively enthralled, as if the the best thing ever is happening to it right now.


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