24 June, 23:00

Shen Zhenling and his cat paintings

Shen Zhenling and his cat paintings
Shen Zhenling is a Chinese artist who specialized in portraits, but he was also good at drawing birds and flowers from life. In 1860, he created a series of drawings called “Cats”.

This work consisted of two albums, executed in gold and other mineral pigments on black paper, depicting cats and butterflies playing and wandering among seasonal flowers. Shen Zhenling was able to masterfully convey the texture of the cats' fur, their expressive eyes and graceful poses. The artist carefully worked out every detail, from small hairs on the fur to subtle shadows.
Shen Zhenling's paintings showed cats in various everyday and natural scenes. He showed them in moments of rest and hunting, play and sleep. The artist skillfully conveyed the variety of characters and moods of his characters.

The artist chose cats for a reason. In ancient China there was a special attitude towards these animals. Cats were considered symbols of good luck and prosperity. One of the meanings of the hieroglyph "mao", similar to meowing, is "destroying monsters in the fields." The hieroglyph for a cat also had a second meaning - it symbolized longevity.
Shen Zhenling is deservedly considered one of the outstanding Chinese artists. Empress Dowager Cixi awarded him a plaque on which she personally wrote: “To the wonderful hand that transmits the spirit.”

Shen Zhenling's cat paintings are not just works of art, but also a bridge between past and present, tradition and modernity. They inspire viewers with their beauty, artistry and depth, reminding them of the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

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