Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cats in Art: Young Girl With a Cat (Morisot)

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


Image credit The Daily Glean. Young Girl With a Cat, Berthe Morisot, 1892, oil on canvas, 22" x 18", held in a private collection.

Zuffi comments:

The beautiful, pensive girl, with a faintly sad smile and the long light-brown ringlet that falls lazily toward her breast, is stroking a docile cat that sits on her lap.  The painter's treatment of color is marvelous, with brushstrokes that alternate between rich, dense impasto and ethereal lightness.  In this interior scene, dominated by a sense of peace and relaxation, the cat's open, alert eyes add a touch of animation.
Contrast this painting with the one from last week, the similarly titled Girl With a Black Cat (Boldini).  In the Boldini painting the cat was alert and appearing ready to bolt, while in Morisot's above, the cat is also alert, yet at the same time relaxed.

Also in my web travels I ran across this quote from the painter, on the craft of painting (I can't for the life of me find the link again--sorry!), that really humanized her to me:

"I wear myself out trying to render the orange trees so that they’re not stiff but like those I saw by Botticelli in Florence. It’s a dream that won’t come true."

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