These are Moroccan cats, photographed by moi when touring that fascinating country. It's possible that their ancestors were amongst the earliest of domesticated cats because we know definitely that in nearby Egypt cats were living as domesticated pets at least 4000 years ago. I just love this Egyptian statue of a cat- it is magnificent and I could quite happily accommodate it in my home.
In Ancient Egypt cats were very much part of every day life as we see here in this image of a cat eating under a table.
(Credit: Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford/Bridgeman Images)
And cats were held in such high esteem as to be worshipped as the goddess Bast. She was the daughter of Ra, the sun god. As protectress, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, after Sekhet, the lioness and consequently of the chief god, Ra. During the Twenty-second Dynasty (c. 945–715 BCE), Bast had transformed from a lioness warrior deity into a major protector deity represented as a cat. Bastet, the name associated with this later identity, is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to this deity. (wikipedia)
This is the Gayer-Anderson cat, believed to be a representation of Baste dating from around 664– 332 BC. It is made of bronze, with gold ornaments and quite magnificent.
It is possible that cats were in China long before they were in Egypt. I couldn't find any very early images of Asian cats (only their bones!) but found this delightful C12th print by Mao Yi depicting cats as part of the Asian household which I will use in recognition of their significance to this culture.
(Credit: Wikicommons/Museum of Japanese Art)
I didn’t want to swamp the blog with chocolate box cats. But I will indulge our desire for pretty pictures of cute kittens with a couple of paintings done by Dutch-Belgian Romantic artist Henriette Ronner-Knip (1821-1909). The first is The Guitar Lesson.
(Credit: Encore Editions)
And this is Kitten with a Ball of Wool.
Personally I prefer Paul Gauguin's Mimi and her Cat from 1880.
French artist Edouard Manet' (1832-1883) made over 100 etchings and lithographs and the ones of cats are just wonderful. My favourite is The Cat Meeting.
As I have frequently mentioned, I am an ardent fan of L.S. Lowry and whilst there is a dog or two in nearly all his paintings, his lithograph The Three Cats, Alstow is a charmer.
I cannot let the opportunity pass to give a little publicity and clarification to this famous image which I am sure many of you will know- but maybe not the artist.
This is the advertising poster for the first modern cabaret nightclub Le Chat Noir (The Black Cat) which operated in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris from 1881 to 1897. The poster was designed by artist Théophile Steinlen (1859–1923) a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. I talked about Le Chat Noir when we looked at the puppeteer Pere Romeu who worked at Le Chat Noir before moving to Barcelona to help start Els Quatre Gats
And this is a detail from Le Chat Noir Journal, No 152, 6 Dec, 1884.
This week an Australian figurative artist died. He wasn’t known in particular for his images of cats though he did produce some wonderful cat paintings and etchings. This is White Cat’s Garden at Night
This Australian artist is linked to the artist who created the image shown below (The Black Cat) but not through cats.
These two artists had much in common through a girl called Alice. Who were they? This puzzle will keep you thinking until tomorrow when all will be revealed.
I've had lots of correspondence of congratulations for the Dog Blogs including an email from a dog in London! So I hope those cats are as smart as they claim and start emailing me. We know from The Silent Miaow by Paul Gallico that you can type if your mood so takes you!
The Hero Image is from one of my own paintings titled A Little Bit of Italy.