The famous American artist John Singer Sargent with the help of Us, Zarathustra the Cat, attempted to give an answer to the burning question of nowadays “How to teach your cat to walk on his hind legs?” in the iconic painting “Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner”:
It was not as easy as you may expect.
The great master invited Us to sit (or, better to say, to stand) for the portrait of exquisite beauty created in Boston in January 1888
The idea was that Mrs.Gardner should teach Us to walk while the artist would depict Our common efforts.
The kind lady put on Us a beautiful necklace and prepared a generous shrimpy fee for Us and not bad for the time sum of $3000 to Mr. Sargent
We purrsonally doubted that Our fee, though also not a bad one, was enough to make even a little step of Our noble hind legs.
This profound thinking enlightened Our regal snout and was stunningly depicted by the genius artist:
Mrs. Gardner was also very choosy and rejected eight renderings of the face until she was satisfied:
We were fed up already after the first attempt. The shrimpy fee was over too quickly, so We kindly decided to hiss to the nice lady and retire under the sofa using all Our precious four paws.
Unfortunately, Mr. Sargent was unable to spend his bucks in the first 15 minutes, so went all the way till the glorious end, though We rightfully supposed he would join Us under the sofa with great pleasure.
The resulting artwork inspired a lot of gossip and legend: they titled it “Woman: An Enigma,” and believed that the painting was aimed to repeat the scandal recently created by Sargent’s “Madame X and Mr.Z”
Jack Gardner asked his wife not to publicly show the portrait, and it was placed in the Gothic Room in their house, which remained closed until his death. The notorious masterpiece was surrounded there by altarpieces, stained glass, and the room looked like a sanctuary, all because Mrs. Garnder appreciated Our 15 minutes of fame granted to her for a bowl of shrimpies.
The true version of the painting is still hidden there, upon the will of Mrs. Garner.
Meanwhile, the general public is allowed to access the commonly known version of the masterpiece in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston:
It is the result of the eighth rendition of Isabella’s face, which happened when We peacefully napped under the sofa.
You see what an important discovery was made for you today!
Thus speaks Zarathustra the Cat