Two Children Teasing a Cat

Annibale Carracci Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 637

With expressions of cruel delight, two children torment a cat with the pincers of a crayfish. The painting may illustrate an Italian proverb similar to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Painted with directness and spontaneity, 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, on view in a nearby gallery.

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

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