Why do cats paint

About Princess. She is only nine and is considered an “elementary fragmentist”. Her central work is called “Regularly mocked rodents” (1993, ink on paper, 52 x 83 cm) and impresses, critics praise, with “totem-like simplicity”. Or the tabby US cat Pepper, who began his great career with “an idiosyncratic composition with moisturizing cream on the mirror of a dressing table” and later made brightly colored “egocentric self-portraits”. The colorful main work of Minnie Monet Manet from Lyon, an "abstract expressionist", is called "Three blind mice" and was created after "hours of meditation in the vineyards of Provence". Ginger (“Neo-Synthetikerin”) works exclusively with perfumed acrylic paint, and Transexpressionist Bootsie consistently creates by jumping what creates dynamic “paintings of refreshing immediacy”.

No doubt: there are countless painting schools and artistic intentions among cats and tomcats. Velvet paws would only purr and meow and be untamable. A big chapter in cat research has now been closed by the ambitious work from New Zealand: “Why Cats Paint”. The wonderfully pompous language, full of little allusions and sottises, seems like a parody of the gibberish of the cultural scene and the knotted choice of words of today's science. But a comprehensive documentation (with brilliant photos) needs cultural interpretation as well as historical accuracy.

A paw instead of a brush was used as early as 3000 BC, as evidenced by the painting lapis lazuli cat on an ancient Egyptian papyrus roll. It shows old tarot cards with motifs of painting cats, creative monastery cats, "which were worshiped as ambassadors of God", later immortalized on tapestry cushions and on revue posters from the turn of the century.

And cats have always been cruel and imaginative: An illustration from the Middle Ages that has now been discovered shows a cat in the alchemist's laboratory, “holding a rat in front of him and pressing its hind legs so tightly that the blood shoots out of its mouth so that it rushes the rat can use as a paintbrush ”(unfortunately not shown in the book).

The superficial theory of behavioral researchers is enthusiastically refuted, cats only painted to mark their territory. Rather, we read, cat painting is mostly artistic and “a well thought-out form of communication”. Even artificial bastards among people can already recognize “first aesthetic approaches” “in the pattern of paw marks in cat litter”.

In the English-speaking world, where “Why Cats Paint” is already a huge success, there was a dispute. A PhD in cultural history from the renowned Londoners Sunday Times Although praised the "epochal study", criticized the lack of cultural and historical balance of the work. The cat painting of the Renaissance was almost completely absent, and the great cat masters of the classical modern age, all the surrealists and cubists among the pfotists, were left out - as if there had never been a meows and pawcasso! Which in turn is the tabloid Sun led to the serious reply that the book was just satire - hahaha, like the big one Times I could only fall for it ...

A warning must be given against domestic verification attempts. If your kitty doesn't want to paint at home, don't worry: not everyone uses a brush. In the service section, advanced users are referred to a work by Order Press, New York, published in 1989: “Denis, M., Kreative Pfoten. How you can help your cat develop better technique. "

But there are also other ways in which cats express themselves artistically: They put "claw marks" - preferably on the back of a chair, but also, like Fritz, on painted metal. Or Angel. She prefers to scratch massive wooden posts in the great outdoors, turning a simple meadow fence post into a sculpture that anyone can admire at any time.

The question remains: after this hilarious and perfectly concocted book, will the two smart authors be sitting on the next art × uvre - this time maybe, just as market-rich, about dogs? The bibliography, compiled with meticulous research, proves the futility: “Wonderful, R .: Why don't dogs paint. Princeton, 1993 ". But how about: Why Bello sculpts. Or: like horses make music. At the moment Miau Opus II is still in progress: Waurum cats bark. Bernd Müllender