Cats in Art

It is not a secret that in ancient Egypt cats used to be worshipped, furthermore, this wasn’t the only civilization that has worshipped cats in history. Many societies have devoted themselves to our feline companions. Egyptians would drape their cats in jewels, Mesopotamians were the first civilization to domesticate cats, the Slavic and Chinese mythologies worship a crop protecting cats. But it was the Egyptian civilization the most feline-centered one. Nowadays, on the internet we can find people captivated by the clumsiness, cuteness and grumpiness of domestic cats and their felines relatives. Whether with photos or videos. In the past hundreds of artists have chosen to capture cats in photographs, paintings and sculptures. Artists like Henriette Ronner-Knip, Louis Wain and Alexandre Steinlen almost exclusively painted cats. The photographer Harry Pointer photographed cats in anthropomorphic poses. Here are some of the most po-purr-lar cat paintings in history.

The Bachelor’s Party (1939)

By Louis Wain, a British painter, famous for portraying cats in a very anthropomorphic way, said to have invented a whole cat world. Wain was obsessed with cats, and it’s believed his obsession came from his mental illness. Other than his paintings he was also an authority in other cat related matters, like judging cat competitions and being involved in animal charities.

Raminou (1920)

By Suzanne Valadon, a French painter, and the first female painter that took part of the National Society of Fine Arts (Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts). Valadon’s compositions were filled with vibrant colors and of female nudes from a woman’s perspective, but some of her greatest paintings include her favorite fat cat Raminou, dedicating a whole series to the cat’s interactions with other cats and human models.

The Cat at Play (1860)

By Henriette Ronner-Knip, born in Amsterdan to a family of painters. She painted a lot of domestic pet cats, her paintings were mostly sentimental rather than metaphorical and the main focus were the cats themselves, portraying them in a very sincere and avid way as she would observe and study them for hours.

The Cat Noir (1896)

By Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, born in Switzerland. He was a famous Painter and printmaker, his poster with a black cat advertises a nightclub in the bohemian district of Montmarte in Paris. This club represents one of the bases to modern cabarets. This painting became the biggest printmaking and culture of entertainment icon.

The Brighton Cats series

By Harry Pointer, a famous British photographer, this series of pictures featured his pet cats. The artist began taking pictures of his cats performing daily activities like sleeping, eating and resting, but then specialized in making them do poses creating humorous activities that looked very human, like cats taking a photograph, riding a tricycle, he then turned his paintings into commercial greeting cards and sold them with small written messages. Pointer published about 200 pictures in the series. But of course, the art world and the internet update regularly with more of cats, so you should go to your favorite search machine and look for the newest trends!

The Brighton Cats series
The Brighton Cats series