Cats In the History of Art

From Ancient Egypt to our times

In partnership with the Reunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais

Synopsis of the exhibition

Synopsis of the exhibition

For the first time, 75 works, from ancient Egypt to the present day, are gathered around the cat! Big cats, small cats, cuddly cats or playful cats, tiger cats or kittens, all of them gathered in the decor of a fantasized 18th century private mansion.

Come, let yourself be seduced by the felines and discover:

  • Cats hidden in all the tables, it’s up to you to find them!
  • Moments of tenderness immortalized by the artists
  • Cats that infiltrate domestic or religious scenes
  • The fabulous felines, magical and magical!

UMA traces the history of the cat and its symbols: if religious painting relates it to Satan, it was revered as a benevolent and maternal deity, Bastet, in ancient Egypt. Presence

accustomed to artists’ studios, it represents the freedom and independence of the painter. But he is also a sensual and sulfurous symbol, often hidden in the portraits of young girls or women, even in the famous “Olympia” of Manet of which he embodies all the voluptuousness.

Object of adoration or superstition? Predator to fear or companion to cuddle? Black cat, angora cat, shabby or luxurious, the feline has a personality as complex as the illustrious palettes who represented them.


About the institution

About the institution

This exhibition, produced in partnership with the Réunion de Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais, is a virtual exhibition adaptation of the e-book of the same name published by the RMN-GP. The RMN-GP holds a set of unique know-how in the artistic and cultural field: organization of exhibitions, reception of the public, cultural and digital mediation, edition of books, management of museum shops, art workshops, photographic agency, acquisitions of works of art for national collections, hosting major exhibitions and events …

UMA and the RMN share the same ambition: to allow the meeting of the greatest number with art – the art of all cultures, all eras, and in all its forms … naturally that this partnership was born.

Finally, we would like to thank Mathilde Louette, for writing the room texts and the notices

which punctuate this exhibition.

Press Release

Visit the exhibition