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Edwin Henry Landseer Cat's Paw MIA 8247

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Edwin Henry Landseer Cat's Paw MIA 8247

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Summary

In Jean de La Fontaine's seventeenth-century fable, which this painting illustrates, a cunning monkey persuades a cat to retrieve roasting chestnuts from a fire. The term "cat's paw," meaning a person unwittingly duped by another, derives from this tale.

Numerous engraved and painted precedents for the brutality of Landseer's interpretation existed in the work of seventeenth-century Dutch and British illustrators of La Fontaine. The fabulist's symbolic use of animals to describe the tribulations of human existence became popular among nineteenth-century romantic painters and satirists.

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Date

1600 - 1700
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Source

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
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Public Domain

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american paintings in the minneapolis institute of art
american paintings in the minneapolis institute of art