Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted saying “the smallest feline is a masterpiece,” and we have to agree. Cats have a long history in the arts and have been depicted over centuries in some of the most famous paintings and pieces of artwork of all time.
It’s no wonder cats are a common muse, not only are they adorable but they are lively, curious, loving, and downright inspirational. Here we will show you some of the most beautiful and famous cat paintings of all time.
The 12 Famous Cat Paintings
|Artist:||Horatio Henry Couldery|
Horatio Henry Couldery was an English painter and illustrator that specialized in animal art. He started as a cabinetmaker but gave up that trade to attend the Royal Academy of Arts. He painted a variety of cats, kittens, and dogs and one of his most well-known works is the painting, Curiosity.
Possibly an ode to the age-old saying “curiosity killed the cat,” this painting shows three cats tabby cats expressing their curiosity and general inquisitive nature as they check out a bird that sits caged nearby. The detail in the painting is incredible, showing off Horatio Henry Couldrey’s talent with realism.
2. Cat with Her Kittens
Julius Adam was a German painter that was best known for his love of cats, which was most expressed in his artwork. Julius kept cats in his home and studio and used them as inspiration to create a variety of cat-related paintings. This earned him the nickname “Cats Adam.”
One of Julius’ most famous works is this beautiful depiction of a mother cat laying with her babies titled Cat with Her Kittens. This painting is a touching portrayal of two young kittens laying down on the grass with their mother on a beautiful day.
3. The Cat and Two Sparrows
The Cat and Two Sparrows is a classic abstract painting completed by Russian artist, Marc Chagall. This type of art influenced much of the 20th century and Marc found his niche in abstract depictions of the world around him.
The Cat and Two Sparrows are one of his most famous works, having been completed in 1952. This painting is predominantly black and white with small splashes of red, yellow, and blue throughout the piece. His work featured in the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
4. The White Cat
Franz Marc was a German artist and a leader in German expressionism and founded Blaue Reiter, an association for German expressionists. This painting, The White Cat from 1912 is one of the most famous cat paintings in recent history and features a pure white cat snuggled comfortably against a colorful backdrop of fabric.
Franz Marc was drafted to serve in the German Army but by the time the government mobilized to have notable artists withdrawn from combat for their safety, Franz was struck and killed during the Battle of Verdun in 1916 before his orders reached him.
5. The Bachelor Party
Louis Wain was an English artist that took a different approach when depicting our beloved felines. Instead of capturing cats in more natural settings, he created his paintings with a more comical feel. His work was certainly entertaining for cat lovers and remains so to this day.
Wain’s focus was all on cats and kittens. His paintings are famous for depicting cats with very large eyes that take part in human activities. One of his most famous works is The Bachelor Party, created in 1896, which features several cats enjoying some drinks and a couple of cigars.
6. Sara Holding a Cat
Sara Holding a Cat is a beautiful painting that captures the loving nature of children. The artist, Mary Cassatt created this piece in 1908. She was an American impressionist painter who spent most of her time in France, where she was inspired by incredible artists like Edgar Degas.
She most often painted portraits of children interacting with their siblings and family members but frequently added cats into her work, especially children holding young kittens. She had a flair for capturing the innocence of children, which is shown in this painting as you see Sara gazing down lovingly at the kitten she is holding gently in her arms.
7. Gabrielle Arnault as a Child
Louis-Léopold Boilly was a French painter that was most famous for portrait paintings. His work rose in popularity at the end of the 18th century upon recognition of his beautiful, realistic paintings of people living their lives in France.
This beautiful painting titled Gabrielle Arnault as a Child was created sometime during the early 19th century. Gabrielle was the daughter of the writer and secretary of the French Academy, Antoine Vincent Arnault and Louis beautifully depicted her in a precious bonnet, gently holding a cat on her lap with a gaze of innocence you can feel through his art.
8. Julie Manet with Cat
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a very highly regarded French artist from the Impressionist period that took place during the mid-19th century. He painted a variety of landscapes and scenery ranging from the city to the countryside and could show the beauty in any setting he depicted in his work.
Julie Manet was the daughter of Berthe Morisot, a well renowned painter and Eugène Manet, the brother of impressionist painter Edouard Manet. Julie was the inspiration for many paintings, especially her mother’s. Pierre-Auguste Renoir created this beautiful work of Julie sitting comfortably and snuggling a cute and very obviously happy cat in her lap.
9. The Cat at Play
Henriëtte Ronner-Knip’s oil painting, The Cat at Play is a realistic and classic depiction of what cats are all about. This painting truly captures the innocent and playful nature of kittens as you see this little one, positioned on a desk playing with dominos as a cigar burns in an ashtray behind him.
Henriëtte Ronner-Knip was born in the Netherlands and learned how to paint from her father, Ronner-Knip. She began painting using watercolor and oils and created a variety of pieces depicting animals, farms, forests, and more. She ended up being best known for her animal paintings that focused mostly on cats.
10. Cat Eating a Bird
Pablo Picasso is undoubtedly one of the most well-renowned artists in history. He was best known for his unique artwork that captured the attention of the masses. He ended up as one of the biggest figures in cubism, surrealism, and various forms of modern art. This piece, Cat Eating a Bird highlights his style.
The painting was created in 1939 and captured his flair for blending color and putting together a scene with sharp edges. This is a very well-known painting that shows a cat doing what cats do when they are left to venture out into nature.
11. The Cook and the Cat
The Cook and the Cat by Théodule-Augustin Ribot put more focus on the cook in this painting, but animal lovers are undoubtedly drawn in by the precious cat that is positioned behind his stool, reaching its paw over to touch the fish.
Théodule-Augustin Ribot was a French realist painter that created many incredible works of portraits, still lifes, and domestic and religious scenes. This painting not only captures this chef hard at work but the wonderful curiosity of the cat.
12. Raminou Sitting on a Cloth
Suzanne Valadon created this beautiful oil painting in 1920 during the post-impressionist era. She began as a trapeze but was forced to give it up following an accident. She then made her way into the arts as a model for painters like Pierre-Auguste Renoir, eventually becoming a painter herself.
Suzanne was the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and was the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo. Raminou Sitting on a Cloth is a painting with a very happy feel that features a chipper orange tabby positioned on a cloth.
As you can see, cats show up all over art history through paintings that capture their playfulness, curiosity, and gentle, loving nature, and some works add the comical value that cats add to our lives. Many artists love to put their main focus on cats while others would simply feature cats in their paintings every once in a while. Regardless of the style, we love appreciating cats in all forms of artwork and of course, in real life.
Featured Image Credit: poverss, Pixabay