Sunday, August 5, 2018

Realism vs Classicism in Cat Art

I'm not big on so-called "art" unless it's pictures of cats. Especially if they are pictures of me!!  While I want to talk about some pictures of me and contrast artistic Realism as an aesthetic vs the Classical or Romantic aesthetics, I want to convince you that there are many famous pictures of cats. How I will accomplish that task is to simply show you a small sample of the large bunch of famous painters painting cats.  It's kind of odd that all three of the painters that come to mind were French. But many French persons wear t-shirts that say J'aime Les Chats. That's French talk that says "I'm crazy about my cat!" There's also many non-French-person books about art and cats.

Mona Lisa with her cat painted by Leonardo da Vinci
The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous pictures of all time according to experts. I'm not particularly fond of it because the lady creeps me out with how her eyes seem to always look at me. It turns out that my being creeped out was not unfounded!
Girl sleeping with a Cat by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Renoir was French and painted all kinds of cats. He even painted cats with people who were naked. These are pretty tame compared to what a 14-year old can find on the internet now a days.
Woman with a Cat by Edouard Manet
Here's another famous painter who painted cats. All mentions of him misspells his first name (should be Edward, right??). I don't want to make a big deal out of it because I want to talk about the juicy part of art theory and then put photos of me into the larger context.

So anyway the first appearances of the term realism was in the Mercure français du XIXe siècle in 1826, in which the word is used to describe a doctrine based not upon imitating past artistic achievements but upon the truthful and accurate depiction of the models that nature and contemporary life offer the artist. I wasn't around in 1826, so I can't vouch for that, but it seems truthy enough. The French proponents of realism were agreed in their rejection of the artificiality of both the Classicism and Romanticism of the academies and on the necessity for contemporaneity in an effective work of art. They attempted to portray the lives, appearances, problems, customs, and mores of the middle and lower classes, of the unexceptional, the ordinary, the humble, and the unadorned.

I present the following two photos of me for discussion. Here I am looking all humble and unexceptional. Way to unexceptional for my taste. Therefore, this image isn't really art - not the classy kind anyway! I look like a bum and if you've read all my blogs, you know I'm not a ordinary cat. Ordinary cats do not have their own web site! Or their own domain name! (like

Cat in a window.
Now contrast that to this one (below), which to my mind looks pretty classy. I kept the same pose in this one. That way you can judge them without bias for your conclusion that I'm a very classy cat. Note that the viewers attention is drawn to me. There are no pointless parts of the image. Just me and I'm all framed up which emphasizes my superiority and greatness in the feline domain.

Let's face it, no "humble" cat (never met one of those, btw) would draw a viewers complete attention like I do. This is a great image. It is clear that this frame and the wall and floor, for that matter, are simply a artistic vehicle to make me look good! And that's how art works.
Cat in a frame
You can take pride in how much you've learned. You're a better person for having undertaken this chore. If you have any questions, I don't want to hear them. For the definitive book on cats in art, go buy this book! It will answer all your questions.

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