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.

October 5, 2016

October 5, 1557

Francesco Bachiacca (March 1, 1494 to October 5, 1557) was a Florentine painter. The Met has  Bachiacca's version of the classical story of Leda and the Swan. What we see in this charming picture is great humor: an old story seen from the perspective of a domestic aftermath.

It is possible that there is the same humor, but one we now don't get the joke of, in his  "Portrait of a Young Lady Holding a Cat." This is, for the Renaissance, a pose so uncommon as to need an explanation. I am guessing those who first saw this painting, laughed, to see an elegant lady, cuddling, not a little dog, but a rat-catcher.

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