Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cats in Art: Little Girl With a Cat (Bonnard)

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.

This is part 6 of 8 of a multiweek study of the cat art of Pierre Bonnard, a French painter (1867-1947). In this series I've moved beyond the two pieces featured by Zuffi and am now studying the rest of Bonnard's cat paintings in chronological order.



Image credit WikiPaintings, Little Girl With a Cat, Pierre Bonnard, 1899, oil on canvas, held in a private collection

Just at a glance we learn a couple important things about this family due to the skilled work of Bonnard: the cat is female, as it obviously is a calico; it likes and wants to be petted, as evidenced by its "pet me!" head-down posture; the cat clearly trusts humans; and the corollary to the last--the little girl is gentle and loving with cats, as I've seen many families (mine included) where certain cats vanish whenever kids show up.

Bonnard with the strokes of his brush manages to not just render the image faithfully and warmly, he conveys subtle clues about this girl and her kitty to convey important information.  

But moreover, we find ourselves drawn in, thinking, almost involuntarily, and the words spring to mind: "Once upon a time, over a hundred years ago, there was a little girl with a cat...."

Such is the magic of good art.

  

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