Two Children Teasing a Cat

Annibale Carracci Italian

Not on view

Viewers of this painting are invited to imagine the result of teasing an obviously unhappy cat (you can almost hear its growl). For surely the little girl’s hand will be scratched. The painting thus incorporates a time factor and carries a lesson similar to “Let sleeping dogs lie” and “Don’t go poking around vipers.” Painted with a directness and spontaneity that look forward to nineteenth-century art, this painting is among the earliest Italian genre paintings. It belonged to Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo (1663–1753), who also owned Velázquez’s Juan de Pareja.

Two Children Teasing a Cat, Annibale Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1560–1609 Rome), Oil on canvas

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