What if some of the great masters of art had cats as their muses. Could this, I wonder, have been the possibility envisaged by Meowsterpieces’ creators?
To populate well known works of art with images of cats fills this ailurophobic reviewer with horror but that is what the author and illustrator of this large format book have done. I’m not sure who would be more horrified, people like myself or art connoisseurs, as they turn the pages and encounter the thirteen transmogrified masterpieces including Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, George Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Pieter Bruegel’s Children’s Games and Katsushika Hokusai’s Under the Wave off Kanagawa.
All this, so we are led to believe by the rhyming narrative, in order that a mother cat can educate her offspring in the ‘Feline Arts’ while at the same time, celebrating their wealth of feline qualities – curiosity, bravery, gracefulness for example.
For me the pastiche paintings and occasional photographs demean not only the originals but often the substitute animals themselves, especially that of Degas’ The Dancing Class wherein one of the dancers is wearing a pink tutu and ballet shoes.
The final pages provide small reproductions of the original artworks with notes about the artists and their creations. Children, if they are the intended audience for the book, would need to be familiar with some of these famous works to fully appreciate what is going on herein, but it isn’t one I’d really want to share with them even if that were the case.