Cats in Art

Still Life with Cat

Still life with Cat
Alexandre-François Desportes (French, 1661–1743)

Why paint a cat? It is art already.
— Wieland Grant

From the time of the ancient Egyptians, through the classical period and the Middle Ages, and right up to the present day, the common house cat (Felis catus) has been a constant object of attraction, mystery, and fascination for humanity. And throughout history, artists and craftspeople have expressed that fascination in every form of art—in sculpture, mosaics, drawings, paintings, and more.

In honor of “National Respect Your Cat Day” (March 28), we present here a collage of nine of our favorite renderings of cats in art across time.

Cats in Art Collage

(Click on image to download a printable PDF of this collage.)

Legend

  1. Legend for Cats in Art CollageBirth of the Virgin (detail)
    Anonymous (Venetian School, 1480)
  2. Cat Goddess Bastet with Kittens
    Anonymous (Egyptian, Late Period)
  3. Cat
    Takeuchi Seiho (Japanese, 1864–1942)
  4. Hibiscus and Rocks (detail)
    Anonymous (Sung Dynasty, 12th century)
  5. Cat Clawing a Turkey/Cat and Ducks
    Roman Mosaic from the House of the Faun, Pompeii (ca. 79 A.D.)
  6. Cat Sleeping
    Federico Barocci (Italian, 1526–1612)
  7. Laughing Children with a Cat
    Judith Leyster (Dutch, 1609–1660)
  8. Cat Stalking a Butterfly
    John Woodhouse Audubon (American, 1812–1862)
  9. White Cat
    M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898–1972)
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