I discovered this painting, Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight by Joseph Wright of Derby (1737-1797) between 1768-1770, on a blog I adore called Two Nerdy History girls. While the author of the blog, Isabella Bradford, provided a fascinating discussion on the possible meanings of the painting, I take a more simplistic approach.
Since I am neither an art critic, nor a psychologist, this painting took me down memory lane to my childhood.
As the very much youngest child of my family and living my earliest years in a neighborhood with few children, I grew up pretty much alone. My saving grace came partially in the form of what seemed like a continuous supply of kittens as my playmates. No kitten was safe from my affections. I spent hours dressing them up in my doll clothes and pushing them around in my baby carriage.
Though the painting may inspire deeper meanings, I love the idea that dressing kittens in doll clothes is a timeless past time. Based on the mournful expression in the kitten’s face, not to mention the tail between his legs, the kitten isn’t enjoying the attention the girls are so lovingly lavishing upon it. Still, I think it’s a sweet picture.
What do you see when you look at this picture?