Cats in Art History

7th July 2018

From Ancient Egyptian statues to modern times painting, discover the many faces and various personalities of our favourite felines !

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For the first time ever, 75 works of art from Ancient Egypt to today are reunited around cats ! Big cats, small cats, cuddly cats or playful cats, tiger-cats or kittens, all are waiting for you in an eighteenth century mansion decor.   Come and let yourself be swayed by the furry friends, and discover: –     Cats hidden in every painting, waiting to be found ! –     Moments of pure tenderness captured by artists –     Cats who have snuck into domestic or even religious scenes –     Fabulous accounts of felines with extraordinary powers   An exhibit in collaboration with the RMN-Grand Palais


UMA presents our fourth exhibition in virtual reality, dedicated to a theme that will delight all kinds of audiences: cats!   Within the rich rooms of a private mansion, with modelized décors ranging from neoclassical halls to welcoming boudoirs, follow the guide: in every artwork there is a cat – hidden or obvious, small or big.   The cat has always been a favourite subject of artistic representation, from Ancient Egyptian statues to modern photography. The animal’s symbolism is fluctuating. If religious painting likened the cat to Satan himself, the small feline was worshipped as a benevolent mother-like divinity in Ancient Egypt: Bastet.   A familiar presence within artists’ studios, the cat came to embody the painter’s spirit of freedom and independence. It is also frequently seen in portraits of young girls or women, where the feline adds a scandalous dimension, as in Edouard Manet’s famous ‘Olympia’.   Object of adoration? of superstition? Fearsome predator or cuddly companion? Black or Angora cats, shabby or luxurious cats… The little feline possesses a personality as layered and complex as the illustrious palettes that have taken him for a model. UMA invites you to discover the most striking cats in art history, based on an original idea by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais.