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Fat cats meet art and history: Here’s a glimpse of the trend that has taken over the Internet

Love her or hate her, but you can’t ignore her. For the past few years, if there is one animal that has taken over Internet then it’s the fat cat. Here’s a look at cats in art trend that seems to charming people all over the world.

art and culture Updated: Jan 31, 2018 16:48 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Fat Cat Art,Cat Art,Cat Artists
Titled- Barber Shop with Monkeys and Cats, this art work was created by the great Flemish artist Abraham Teniers ( Belgium 1629-70).

It’s not your friend’s pictures or posts; it’s not memes about your favourite football team, it’s not even the current news that quite dominates the Internet like a humble house cat does. Cats, especially fat cats, are the ones that ought to be crowned the kings and queens of social media. However, before cat memes and pictures became the ‘IT’ thing, cat art has long been popular throughout history. From old paintings to the latest cat art, cat artists such as the Brit Susan Herbert and the Russian Svetlana Petrova have re-imagined famous art works with cats. These classic cat art pieces are now the toast of social media.

Through the lens of history

Barbershop with monkeys and cats

Barber Shop with Monkeys and Cats, Abraham Teniers (1629-70).

This masterpiece was created by the Flemish painter Abraham Teniers (Belguim) in the 16th century. Teniers was a master in scenery paintings. Here you can see monkeys serving their masters- cats. The cats are nonchalantly seated in a saloon and seem to be getting ready for a gala in the evening. Cats are royal indeed.

Dali Atomicus

Dali Atomicus, Salvador Dalí and Philippe Halsman (1948).

In 1948, Spanish Maestro Salvador Dalí in collaboration with the American photographer Philippe Halsman, came up with this stunning creation- cats in mid-air. There’s something jawdropping seeing a cat leap and Dali and Halsman managed to capture three black cats in mid-air.

Child With Cat

Child With Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1880-81).

There is something serene and comforting about petting a cat. This simple yet elegant painting in 1880 by the French impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir capture happiness that only feline can give to human beings.

Putting the cat in the art

Russian artist Svetlana Petrova’s artwork featuring her big ginger cat Zarathustra has been a hit online all over the world. She started her project Fat Cat Art and her website by the same the name. She’s got millions of followers. Her artwork involves integrating classic historical artworks with cats. Petrova has also recently recreated recent popular scenes from famous TV shows such as Game of Thrones with cats.

Petrova recreates French artist Édouard Manet’s (1863) famous painting- Olympia with her gorgeous ginger cat Zarathustra. ( Fat Cat Art )
The Creation of Adam by the legendary Italian Michelangelo (1511-1512) depicts Biblical creation of man. Petrova ingeniously flips the narrative makes us question did the cat come first or man? ( Fat Cat Art )

British Artist Susan Herbert, who is a contemporary cat artist, launched her book Cats Galore: A Compendium of Cultured Cats in 2015 that showcased depictions of cats in scenes from art, theater and film. From feline version of Julie Andrews’ in the Sound of Music to Charlie Chaplin in the Tramp to The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and Ophelia by John Everett Millais, her book has it all for cat lovers.

The Mona Lisa by Italian Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci (1503) is perhaps the most popular painting in our history. And here Susan makes us wonder what if Mona Lisa was beautiful cat? Its fantastic isn’t it. ( © 2015 The Estate of Susan Herbert )
Imagine 1965 Hollywood classic The Sound of Music with Brit actor Julie Andrews in the lead, re-imagined with cat. What if Andrews was a cat? A singing cat in a musical like The Sound of Music would have taken over social media in this day and age. ( © 2015 The Estate of Susan Herbert )

What’s cat art?

According to the Internet, a cat art can be defined as the portray of cats in illustrations, paintings, sculptures, pictures or even memes. Russian artist Svetlana Petrova and British artist Susan Herbert are the most known cat artists in the world now. They started a few years back but its only recently that the Internet has taken notice of them with their artwork is now turning to viral memes.

The latest in line- giving the cat treatment

Flying dragons replaced by a fire breathing cat in Game of Thrones and we love it. ( Fat Cat Art )
Anyone for catvengers? This is by far the most popular poster on the social media.
House of Cards or House of Cats? Obviously House of Cats

Popular TV shows and movies such as Game of Thrones, House of Cards and Avengers were recently given the feline makeover. Re-imagined movie and TV show posters with cats is the rage on social media right now.

The scene in India

We already have cafes dedicated to cats and dogs in various cities where cat art is gaining prominence. Nayani Tandon, who is the owner of The Puppychino Cafe in Shahpur Jat, New Delhi, says that, “ Cat art seems to be a wacky concept but surprisingly, the cats command the composition and give a completely new and previously unimaginable meaning to the “art”.

A creation by Nida Mahmood.

And we have our own cat artist? Well, we do! Over the past few years, fashion designer Nida Mahmood has been creating cat art inspired by her own cat. “ My love for my beloved cat Mr Toffee Tinkerbell initiated cat art for me. I started making fun graphics inspired by him. I even created the concept and branding of my restaurant around him only,” says Mahmood. Cat Café Studio in Andheri West, Mumbai, inspired by cat art have now announced their own independent cat art project. “ We’ve always focused on art and cats. We’ll be coming with a project like no other soon, which promises to be a unique blend of cats and art”, says Shripad Bandekar, assistant manager of cat cafe studio in Mumbai.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 16:48 IST