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Fat Cat Art

TAKING EXISTING ARTWORKS AND ADDING stuff in is a pretty worthy past-time. It’s interesting, it’s fun, and you get to see what paintings would have looked like if your favorite artists were born with a fascination for cats.

And that’s what Russian artist Svetlana Petrova did, using her fat ginger cat as a model. Her project, known as “Paintings Made Better With Cats” or simply “Fat Cat Art“, has since gained worldwide acclaim.

But though her painting-renovations may seem lighthearted, and it makes you want to laugh, the background behind how she got started is far from a happy one…

I lost my mother in 2008 and she left me Zarathustra. I got horrible depression after her death and for two years I was unable to do something creative. By chance a friend asked me ‘why don’t you make an art project with your cat because he’s so funny’.

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, True version | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, True version
Adriaen van Utrecht, Still Life | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Adriaen van Utrecht, Still Life
Botticelli, Pallas and the Cat | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Botticelli, Pallas and the Cat

I’ve had cats before and included them in my work, like playing in THEATER shows and I’ve made costumes for them. But I thought, ‘What can I do with Zarathustra, because my mother spoilt him and he’s so fat’.

Botticelli, The Birth of Venus | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Botticelli, The Birth of Venus
Caravaggio, Bacchus: Wine vs Catnip | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Caravaggio, Bacchus: Wine vs Catnip
Paul Cézanne, The Cat Card Players | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Paul Cézanne, The Cat Card Players

Zarathustra likes posing and is a really intelligent cat. He likes to lie on his back and make strange faces like he’s speaking with somebody, so I began to take photos of him and inserted them into paintings.

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Leonardo da Vinci. Lady with a Cat pretending to be an Ermine | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Leonardo da Vinci. Lady with a Cat pretending to be an Ermine
Michelangelo, The Creation of cAt-dam | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Michelangelo, The Creation of cAt-dam

I liked the result so I sent it to some friends, other artists and galleries. Everyone laughed so much, so I made a website, but then forgot about it because I had another project.

Rembrandt, Danae | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Rembrandt, Danae
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The Night Watch | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, The Night Watch

After a few months, another friend saw my cat work in my albums and asked why I had it. I told him it was my cat and he said: ‘Your cat is all over the internet!’

Diego Velazquez, Philip IV on Catback | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Diego Velazquez, Philip IV on Catback
Johannes Vermeer, The Kitchen Maid and the Cat | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Johannes Vermeer, The Kitchen Maid and the Cat
Vasnetsov, The Russian Hero Cat | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Vasnetsov, The Russian Hero Cat
Emanuel Leutze, “Washington Crossing the Delaware in a boat piloted by the Fat Cat” | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Emanuel Leutze, “Washington Crossing the Delaware”
John Trumbull, Declaration of Independence | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
John Trumbull, Declaration of Independence
Sir Henry Raeburn, Skating Minister and Skating Cat. | Fat Orange Ginger Cat Paintings Photobombing Famous Masterpieces
Sir Henry Raeburn, Skating Minister and Skating Cat.

It’s not the first time an artist’s pet has helped them recover from a creative slump and times of depression. Indeed, you might even say that  pets and art go well together, like pizza and pasta.

If you’re an artist and you’re having a hard time getting your creative vibes back, maybe it’s time to go out, capture a wild bunny, and turn it into a pet. Who knows what masterpieces you’ll come up with…