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The Cat in Art Hardcover – April 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The cat is an animal of a "thousand faces," observes art historian Zuffi in this grand tour of the cat's various artistic incarnations. Graceful, devious, playful, luxuriating, fierce, affectionate, petulant, and aloof--in short, domestic without being domesticated--the cat has inspired artists for centuries. As Zuffi informatively and entertainingly traces the cat's evolution from deity to witch's familiar, an emblem of wholesome bliss to a rapacious hunter, a figure of comic relief to a model of poise and serenity, he presents uncommonly reproduced works by artists famous and less familiar, creating a unique feline portrait gallery replete with Roman mosaics, French illuminated manuscripts, Dutch interiors, Renaissance paintings, Japanese prints, imaginative works by Picasso and Klee, and sensual paintings by Gauguin. Cat lovers will delight in the many variations on the cat theme, while Zuffi's lively mix of aesthetics, history, lore, and interpretation turns the cat into a lithe guide to art history. Pair this volume with Best in Show: The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to Today (2006). Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Stefano Zuffi is an art historian who specializes in Renaissance and Baroque painting. He has written numerous popular books about art and artists, including Abrams’ Art in Venice (1999). He lives in Milan.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810993287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810993280
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Abell on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I know this book from its French edition, that I acquired at the Louvre in Paris. But assuming the English version stays true to the version I have (it was originally written in Italian), then this is a thoroughly enjoyable volume. More than just another book of cute pictures of cats (which is not to say that's a bad thing) this book is actually an overview of the changing place of the cat in society, as demonstrated by the leading artists of the day. An engaging study in changing iconography, we can trace how the cat changed from devil's "familiar" in the Middle Ages to the protector of the home (by killing rats and mice) as shown in beautifuly reproduced works of art from the world's major museums. Zuffi is an engaging writer and scholar who has provided us with a lvoely and entertaining portrait of the cat.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Who can resist a soft, furry, inscrutable, playful, endearing cat? Not many. Especially not artists throughout the ages whose works have been gathered in this fascinating volume by art historian Stefano Zuffi. He describes the cat's important place in culture and art, literature and fable as follows:" True to its nature, it rarely emerges as a protagonist: more often than not, we must look closely to detect its presence. However, this presence, especially in painting, is never a banal one. It has been given a rich variety of symbolic meanings, so much so that we can almost read them across centuries of masterpieces - a sort of history of art with whiskers and a tail, full of surprises."

Thus begins our journey with the cat from antiquity and the Egyptian Goddess Bastet to the modern feline as found in contemporary portrayals. In the Middle Ages we sometimes find the timeless game of cat and mouse as carved in French cathedral choir stalls or in the Lutrell Psalter, an illuminated manuscript now seen in London's British Library.

Later we find the cat in paintings by such beloved artists as Annibale Carracci, Tintoretto, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Jan Van Eyck. The latter places him at the birth of John the Baptist, while a drawing by Da Vinci offers numerous studies of cats.

Richly illustrated with over 250 color images "The Cat In Art" is a sumptuous volume chronicling the works of artists who have been entranced by this affecting creature.

- Gail Cooke
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kitty Cat on January 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book covers cats in art from Egyptian to modern times. Lovely color photos with a history of the paintings or sculptures. A very well done art book for cat fanciers!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By F. L. Ellsworth on July 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This books is a "must" for every art historian, collector, or any one who simply loves art and/or cats. Well researched and well written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jodi-Hummingbird on December 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautiful hardcover book for all cat lovers or painting lovers, and especially for those who are both. Highly recommended. I want to buy a copy for everyone I know that has a cat!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AlwaysSmile on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and high quality book. If you are looking for a beautiful art book, this is it. If you happen to love cats, that's a bonus!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ruth W. on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for my friend, who is neither a museum curator nor an art historian. I wanted something fun to look at and easy to read, heavy on full-color plates and light on text. This book is exactly that. If you want some scholar's doctoral dissertation with lots of footnotes and bone-dry commentary, look elsewhere. If you love cats and great works of art, look no further.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JJS/Phx.AZ on September 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since the cat is a study in art itself, this book is a huge pay-off for
the feline lovers of the world. It's pure joy from cover-to-cover.
I didn't know I could be so enthralled once more with a book about cats!
It will remain out on my table for all to see to perpetuity! J. Stillman
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