"Cat mania"

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"Cat mania" from 1 March 2012 to 27 May 2012

Peter and Paul Fortress, Ioannovsky ravelin exhibition hall

The exhibition displays objects with images of cats fr om the collection of the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and fr om private collections. These objects include paintings, drawings, decorative arts, porcelain sculptures, photographs and postcards.

A unique collection - about 300 postcards of the late XIX - early XX century - from the collection of the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg is displayed for the first time.

The biggest part of this collection is represented by once very popular sentimental cards with touching scenes of the cat's life, with pictures of charming cats, cats or kittens surrounded by flowers, in baskets, playing with a ball, etc. Among the displayed "sentimental" cards there are works of famous masters of this genre - German artist Sophie Shperlih and an Englishman Bernard Cobb.

Apart from observing habits of cats, people tend to anthropomorphize them, to ascribe to them their own feelings and behavior. The first to depict cats occupied with human activities were illustrators of Victorian England. It was at this time a cat has become a true domestic animal, an owner’s joy, a full member of the family and moved out of the kitchen, wh ere it used to catch mice, into an exquisite living room. The images created at that time were extremely popular and similar cards were issued in Germany, Russia, USA and France. The exhibition presents the works of the most eminent artists who depicted anthropomorphic cats - postcards with pictures of Louis Wayne, Arthur Thiele, Maurice Boulanger, Helen Maguire and others. On these cards cats wear clothes, dine at the table, read, laugh and cry. In a series of colorful postcard characters one can see at the exhibition a cat-teacher and a cat-singer, a cat-concierge and a cat-babysitter.

Erotic postcards depicting cats will become an interesting finding for visitors.

Popular prints called “lubok” imaging cats deserve special attention at the exhibition: a well-known nineteenth-century lubok print "How mice buried the cat" and the satirical patriotic series "Pictures – war between Russian and German" of the First World War period: "Vaska – cat of Prussia, an enemy of Russia", "Kaiser the cat was mad, by war he was possessed and for that he will be hanged."

Charming and touching are the cats from illustrations for children's books such as "Toys" by Agnes Barto, "Keith and the Cat" by Boris Zakhoder, "Cat’s House" and "Furry-Purry Pussy-Cat" by Samuel Marshak, "Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault, and others.

To continue the exhibition, portraits of cats famous throughout the world are displayed as well as portraits of cats of the famous St. Petersburg residents Joseph Brodsky and Alexander Kuprin.

Life and customs of modern cats in our city are shown on the paintings and drawings of St. Petersburg artists: Anatoly Belkin, Alexander Bazarin, Valery Valran, Anatoly Vasilyev, Vladimir Vasilkovsky, Victor Danilov, Anatoly Zaslavsky, Marina Koldobskaya, Michael Kopylkov, Oleg Kotelnikov, Gafoor Mendagaliev, Valery Rabchinsky, Elena Rudaeva, Victor Tatarenko, Vladimir Shinkarev.

In addition to that, more than one hundred of best photos with St. Petersburg cats were sel ected for the exhibition according to the results of an open contest of photography organized by a photo laboratory Photo One. The topics of these photos were: "People and Cats", "St. Petersburg cats", "March – time of the cats," "Cat at home", "Cat at the animal shelter," "Cat in the city".

A special interactive program for children is organized at the exhibition. It is commonly known that the Peter and Paul Fortress is a favorite dwelling for the cats. Any visitor can receive a special guide wh ere "cat" places are marked and find the furry inhabitants of the fortress by him/herself.

Also, every visitor can complement the exhibition by knitting a piece of woolen Longcat claiming to be the longest Longcat in the world; to write his article in the "Cat's Dictionary"; to draw a portrait of his or her pet (young authors of the best portraits will receive prizes fr om the Museum on the day of the official closure of the exhibition).

During the exhibition money will be raised for the Center for homeless animals "Poteryashka."

Partners of the exhibition:

• Professional photo studio Foto One

• Project of St. Petersburg artists "Four Elements"

• Museum of cats (Vsevolozhsk)

• Piskarevsky dairy factory

• Magazine "My friend cat"

Tickets: Adults - 150 rubles. Students - 60 rubles.

Also you can visit the exhibition with a single ticket of the Peter and Paul Fortress.