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Category: "Cats in Art"

The Sofa Cats

by Ed  

Cat(s) of the Month ~ September 2012

The Society of Feline Artists, or S.O.F.A for short, was founded in September 1994. They have the aim of promoting the work of the best cat artists, whether established or unknown....and what an amazing collection of feline portraits they have in store on their website!

Stable Cat
Painting/Photograph: Barbara Thaxter

The society has had an annual exhibition of cat paintings at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery in London for several years, featuring over 100 artists, some of whom exhibit internationally and showing more than 300 paintings in a range of media, making it the largest exhibition of cat art in the United Kingdom.

Subjects range from the humble moggy and the friendly domestic tabby to the more exotic breeds like Siamese, Burmese and Bengals and of course the Big cats. From the nobility and drama of the wild cat to the playful kitten - all are painted with the mastery of artists who know and understand their subject.

Norman and I have looked through the gallery on the S.O.F.A website and selected some of the pictures which have caught our eyes. We hope you like 'em too.


Barbara Thaxter

A Shady Place
Painting/Photograph: Barbara Thaxter

Jackie Coote

Frankie 'The Professor'
Painting/Photograph: Jackie Coote
Sunbathing
Painting/Photograph: Jackie Coote

Kay Young

Jaguar
Painting/Photograph: Kay Young
Jasmine and Bertie
Painting/Photograph: Kay Young

Marion Forster

After all we've done
Painting/Photograph: Marion Forster
Ebony Gang
Painting/Photograph: Marion Forster

Pages: 1· 2

Pulcinella: Piano Playing Puss

by Ed  

Cat of the Month ~ May 2012

Pulcinella was the name of the cat owned by Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti, the Italian composer who spent much of his life in the service of the Spanish and Portuguese Royal Families, although today he is known mainly for his 500 (and then some) keyboard sonatas.

Scarlatti and his cat

Scarlatti with his beloved Pulcinella

Photograph: Artists Impression by Ed

Scarlatti's famous Fugue in G minor, is a one-movement harpsichord sonata popularly known as the Cat fugue or Cat's fugue.

The nickname, 'The Cat Fugue', which was never used by the composer himself but was introduced early in the 19th century, originates from a story about how Scarlatti came up with the strikingly unusual motif on which the fugue is built.

Legend has it that Scarlatti's pet cat was called Pulcinella. The composer himself described how his cat would enjoy walking across the harpsichord keyboard, being always curious about the sounds it made under his paws. Usually, this walking would produce a random series of discordant notes but ...

On this auspicious occasion, according to the story, Scarlatti heard and then wrote down an amazing phrase produced by the cats paw presses on the keyboard. The paper he used is still in existence:

Reproduction of the extract of the Cat Fugue" jotted down by Scarlatti

Image: by Scarlatti :-):

This particular 'improvisation session' had proven to be very fruitful, as he used the notes as a lead motif in his new fugue. Truly inspired, he went on to write the whole Fugue around these notes. The piece proved to be an overnight sensation and remains popular to this day.

So from this legend the nickname 'Cat's Fugue' was used in concert programmes in the 19th Century and was also used by later publishers of Scarlatti's music.

To hear Pulcinella's very own inspired motif (The Cat Fugue) here is a rendition of the piece played by Bertrand Cuiller on harpsichord. The photo in the youtube video here is of another modern day cat musician 'Nora'.

"Cat Fugue" by Pulcinella/Scarlatti
Video: Masolino

We know that ALL cats are inspirational, everyday but a special well done to Pulcinella ( R.I.P) for getting your name out there!

[source articles: Book - "100 Cats Who Changed Civilization" by Sam Stall, and Wikipedia.org]