A visual book exhibition "A Journey to the Country of Cats" is on show in the Fine Arts Reading Room from February 25 to March 22.
Since ancient times, cats were considered sacred animals and were worshiped, cultivated and no one dared to harm them. These animals were of particular importance in Ancient Egypt: they personified Bastet – the goddess of the moon, fertility, love and home. In honour of the sacred "Mau" (from the ancient Egyptian "cat") temples were erected throughout Egypt. In case of fires, cats were the first to be taken out of the burning house, and when the animal died, it was mummified in gold and silver sarcophagi. A completely different attitude towards cats was in the Middle Ages: in France and other European countries, fluffy beauties were considered accomplices of the devil and were killed. Eras, cults, preferences have changed, but cats have always attracted attention, remaining mysterious creatures for people. It is no coincidence that B. Shaw believed that a person is "a person of culture as much as he is able to understand a cat."
The beauty and grace of cats, their mysterious world has long intrigued artists, sculptors, masters of arts and crafts. The exhibition presents a whole collection of images of these incredible animals made by masters from different eras, styles and countries. Visitors will see reproductions of ancient Egyptian figurines of cats (I-III centuries AD), an image of the Roman mosaic "Pompeian Cat", which depicts a predator with clawed paws. Da Vinci was also very fond of cats. He left drawings of the animals in different angles and moods. Thus, you can see a reproduction of the drawing "Madonna of the Cat" among the exhibits.
Images created by the masters of genre painting and still life of the 17th–19th centuries will be of interest. (F. Snyders, J.B.S Chardin, J.F. Millet). Four-legged friends often appeared on the canvases of the impressionists, post-impressionists, modernists: the exhibition presents reproductions of works by Manet, Renoir, Gauguin, allegorical images of cats by Picasso and other masters.
The exhibition contains a number of works by Russian artists. Visitors will be greeted by a washing cat from the painting "The Major's Marriage Proposal" by Fedotov, an image of an affectionate pet in the works of Kustodiev, Serebryakova; the famous cats of Chizhikov will put a smile on everyone's face.
Belarusian artists often turned to the images of cats. The exhibition presents reproductions of works by Chagall, A. Los, G. Skrypnichanka, V. Gubarau, V. Rynkevich, A. Silivonchyk, A. Maisiejieva and others. Mystical images of cats in the works of graphic artist V. Slauk will excite interest. It is worth seeing the linocut "Just a Cat" by V. Pravidokhin, presented in the original with the artist's autograph.
The exhibition is complemented by books on the technique of drawing cats and the anatomy of these animals, colourful encyclopaedias introducing the peculiarities of the lifestyle of cats, their breeds, nutrition, philosophy, their medicinal abilities, and also contain advice to owners on the care of furry pets.
For more info: (+375 17) 293 27 53.
Special Collections Service Department.