Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze

by Michael

Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze

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Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze

This is a portrait of Julie Manet with a cat. It is by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) the celebrated French artist who was a leading light in the development of the style of painting called "Impressionism".

The painting was made in 1887. At this time Renoir was reasonable healthy but 5 years later he developed rheumatoid arthritis. He moved to a warmer part of France to help him work with the restrictions that that condition imposed on his painting. He continued to paint despite bad arthritis. For example, an assistant put his brush in his hand. It must have been bad at that time.

The female model, Julie Manet, was the daughter of Eugene Manet who was the younger brother of another celebrated artist Édouard Manet. It was obviously quite a close knit community. Julie was a painter herself and an art collector.

The reason why I am writing about this painting: Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze, is because of the cat, of course.

The cat probably lived with Julie. Perhaps Renoir was painting Julie as a favour and she wanted her cat in the picture.

The cat is a calico cat. Nearly all calico cats are females due to the way the genetics work that create this well known coat, which is more accurately described as tortoiseshell and white. The cat looks like a female too. And she is very content.

You can also see that the markings are a little bit Turkish Van in nature on the forehead (inverted "V"). This is not unusual in calico cats. Incidentally, the description "calico" is used in North America not in Europe as far as I am aware.

The time, 1887, was when the cat fancy was just beginning. There were few purebred cats at that time.

This beautiful looking calico cat would have been a random bred cat (a moggie). It is not surprising that Julie Manet chose a calico cat (if she did!) because their coat pattern and coloring is such that it could have been painted on. The tortoiseshell and white coat type has a painterly quality that is a touch impressionistic.

Julie Manet
Julie Manet at aged 15.



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Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze

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Oct 13, 2011 Julie
by: Sylvia

Mademoiselle Julie’s cat is blissed out to be in her Mma's lap, and the girl’s hands express her affection for her cat. And what a beautiful girl she is, with her dark hair and dainty waist.

Oct 13, 2011 Cats in Paintings
by: Sylvia

These are beautiful paintings, though Miss Holzhalb’s head is microcephalic compared to the rest of her. And Mr. Asper looks as if he has lost all hope. Even his hat looks down and out.

Historians claim that distortions don't prove the artists had an odd way of looking at things. They were just following artistic convention. What’s odd is their seeing such merit in their conventions that they persisted for years, and sometimes generations

The oldest of the Old Timers – Egyptians, Etruscans, Mesopotamians, the early Greeks, et al. – favored the ‘archaic smile.’

While the Romans knew how to paint lifelike portraits, Egypt’s painters, whose culture was technically more advanced than that of the Romans,’ were happy with profiles tacked onto frontal torsos, twin feet, and fingers and thumbs of the same length (think six-inch thumbs). Only their sculptures were realistic.

Retroussé and aquiline noses didn’t exist for the Greek sculptor. His ideal nose dropped straight down from the hairline, like Odo’s in ‘Star Trek.’ An optometrist’s nightmare, had spectacles been needed.

Byzantine Madonnas had a spacey demeanor and cuttlefish eyes.

Thanks to ongoing artistic convention, Renaissance women had a singed look and bowling ball heads. (Check out da Vinci’s Ginevra de’ Benci.) Yet Botticelli’s Venus looked like Nabokov’s Lolita.

Despite the enchilada eyelids and hair hanging down to her hamstrings, the Pre-Raphaelites’ most famous model looks almost normal. If she wasn’t the French lieutenant’s woman, she could have been Eustacia Vye.

Oct 08, 2011 Hi Grahame
by: Michael

Thanks for the comment. I have quite a few pages on cats in paintings. It is an interesting area because it gives us an insight into domestic cat "ownership" before photography, before formal purebred cats existed and before the subject of the domestic cat was written about so much.

You can see some more here: Cats in Paintings.

Oct 08, 2011 !
by: Grahame

You surely know how to keep this site fresh, Michael. "Porträt der Mademoiselle Julie Manet mit Katze" was a delightful and inspired post. I hope that you might do an extended series about cats in art.

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