The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

December 6, 2012

December 6, 1779

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (November 2, 1699 to December 6, 1779) was a French painter who set about resolutely doing what he loved, and his attention to reality in his painting has a religious dimension. Among his paintings are several with cats, and typically cats with fish, like a painting entitled "Still-Life with Cat and Fish" which shows a young white and tabby cat adjacent to a fish which has been cut open with a knife, so you have a dramatic mixture of textures.In this picture the cat already has a paw on the fish. In another the cat appears firghtened, though perhaps the expression is some ecstasy of anticipation. The cat may well be the litter-mates, in multiple paintings, white with gray-red parts. In an era when history paintings were held to be the greatest art, the portrayals of the simple, intimate subject matter of Chardin's canvases were so astonishing that he was given a pension by the king, starting in 1752, and later apartments in the Louvre.

Picasso would centuries later salute Chardin with a canvas entitled "Lobster and Cat, (1965).

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