The text below is the excerpt of the book Drawing Cats( ISBN: 9781646997480 ), written by Anna Salaris , published by de Vecchi / DVE ediciones .
Present in the life of man from the earliest times, the cat has always fascinated with its elegance, its agility, and its aura of mystery. Throughout history, various roles have been attributed to them. Depicted as a deity in ancient Egypt, it quickly lost, with the decline of the Egyptian civilization, all the privileges from which it had benefited.
The Egyptians had imported the cat from Ethiopia, and from the 1stcentury CE, it spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin thanks to traders and merchants. They were the privileged guests of vessels, which were preparing to cross the seas to unknown destinations; the cats prevented the vessels from becoming rat-infested, endangering the success of the expedition. Thanks precisely to these voyages, cats spread throughout the world.
The campaigns of the Roman conquest also helped to introduce the cat indifferent regions of Europe, but until the 15th century this animal did not have the status of a pet being in charge of catching mice in rural areas, although the Chinese had domesticated them since the year 1000 CE.
During the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci interrupted his studies of the Virgin and the Child Jesus to focus on cats, and from the 17th century onwards, some paintings of the Dutch and Flemish schools included cats in the representations of domestic interiors. Painters such as Rembrandt, Veronese, Tintoretto, Manet, Renoir and Picasso are among the great artists who have represented cats in their works.
In the same way as with dogs, there are many cat breeds with quite distinct morphological characteristics. Thus, there are cats with compact structures, short legs and long hair, typical features of the Persian race, and very slender, elongated ones, with short hair, like the Siamese breed cats. The European cat also has short hair, and its fur offers numerous variants (of a single colour, tabby or spotted); the combination of patterns of its fur is almost infinite. The agility and the extraordinary flexibility of the cat allow the animal, regardless of the race, to be a great shape changer and to take the most incredible positions. The reclining cat resembles a rounded body, and when sitting, its hind legs almost disappear, hidden behind the hair of its coat. To achieve a drawing of a cat endowed with great realism, special care has to be taken in reproducing the animal’s volume and fur by means of subtle strokes.
The body is formed into a vertical oval shape. The gaze must be profound.
The head is square and is formed into the oval body. The whiskers and the eyebrows must be clearly visible.
The body is formed into a vertical oval. The front legs are together. The shadows must be stressed when drawing the hair.
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