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.

August 23, 2013

August 23, 1849

Edward Hicks (April 4, 1780 to August 23, 1849) was a new man with a new faith in a new country.  Hicks was a Quaker minister, and though that quietistic trend was new, it had already splintered and those who felt the Quakers were becoming too "urban", were sometimes call Hicksites.  You see the sincerity and brilliance of a genuine religious calling in Edward Hicks's many renditions of The Peaceable Kingdom. These often portray historical scenes behind the animals, where a gap in time may be conveyed with a rift in the geography. He did many versions of these scenes. He was aware of being a new American also, and did patriotic scenes which have been forgotten. One of my favorites is Hicks' 'The Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity'. There are multiple cats in this canvas, including a gray bobcat -- I think that is what is meant, along with the lion, and leopard. People besides children are tiny and portrayed as an historical dream. The children of course are part of the Isaiah reference: "and a little child shall lead them." Hicks refused to do portrait painting since it represented egotism on the part of the sitter. 

You have to study the multiple different portrayals he made of the peaceable kingdom, to grasp the stunning significance of the last painting Hicks created. It is titled David Leedom's Farm, though I have seen various titles.  All the chaos of the animals pushed together, all the intense symbolic messages, all the wild landscapes, burst into a flame of simple geometry.  David Leedon's Farm is a resolution of a life of art, and remarkable, and not remarked upon enough. 

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