Artist Inserts Cats Into Classical Paintings in New Exhibition
Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” is one of the most famous works of art in history.
But this time, as you follow God’s outstretched arm with your eye, you notice that his finger points not to Adam, but to a larger-than-life, overweight ginger cat lounging on the rocks.
This is the work of Russian artist Svetlana Petrova, who, in her latest exhibition in Oxfordshire, has integrated her cat into some of the world’s most famous paintings.
In her revamped version of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” the cat, named Zarathustra, lounges in front of the nude Venus. In her interpretation of Wood’s “American Gothic,” Zarathustra stretches a paw toward a cheeseburger skewered on the farmer’s pitchfork. Petrova re-imagined Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” with Zarathustra “standing” on the seashell.
Zarathustra’s unique poses, expressive face and photogenic qualities made him an instant inspiration for creating these works of art, Petrova remarked to The Independent.
“Zarathustra likes posing and is a really intelligent cat. He likes to lie on his back and make strange faces like he’s speaking with somebody, so I began to take photos of him and inserted them into paintings,” she said.
“I think it is a very interesting concept, but however it could be taken too literally in the art world,” says Mike Arsenault, Chair of Design at DMAC. “It’s creative, and out of the box, that’s for sure.”
Petrova also said she thinks her works reflect an important shift in the way art is created today as well as the very definition of art itself.
“People usually think art is something they cannot touch, but there is a lot of art in the viral Internet world – like Internet memes. There is a new trend and generation of artists and critics thinking about it,” Petrova told the BBC. “For me, it was a possibility to create something that is beautiful and make people investigate something new and interesting, and try and create some art themselves.”