The cat's reputation and place in society have been subject to twists and turns of fate that are all reflected in art. While cats were deified by the ancient Egyptians, they were vilified by the medieval Church, before the Renaissance and Baroque periods saw their gradual rehabilitation. By the eighteenth century cats had become popular household pets worldwide. Generations of artists have treasured their contrariness and beauty, and while the cat does not always occupy centre stage in paintings, it always adds an extra symbolic dimension to a picture, or illuminates its meaning in an unexpected way. This sumptuously illustrated book examines the relationship between cats and humans from ancient times to the present, offering fascinating insights into the prominence of the cat in art in cultures worldwide. Thematic chapters explore in detail a rich and rewarding collection of paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures, creating a book that will have enduring appeal among art lovers and cat lovers alike.
Caroline Bugler Editor of Art Quarterly, the magazine of the Art Fund, the fundraising charity for works of art. Her previous publications include an artistic guide to Vienna.