'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 15 March 2013

Review: Curious Cats in the National Gallery of Victoria

This beautifully presented gift book showcases artworks from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, all of which curiously enough include cats. The opening essay introduces readers to a short history of the domestic cat, before briefly discussing how this history inspired several of the included artworks. The language and explanations are quite sophisticated, as to address an adult audience but the format of the book presents quite nicely as an introduction to art for a younger audience, perhaps 11 or 12 onwards.

Each of the selected artworks are displayed simply on a white background without the distractions of text or embellishments, and include photography and porcelain as well as a wide range of paintings. Details of the artworks are included at the back of the book (such as the artist’s name, country of origin, artwork title, and materials used) and the dust jacket can be folded out to be used as gift wrapping paper (or even as a little poster.)

The clear, unobstructed layout of the artworks provide the opportunity to foster an interest in art within primary aged children – making up stories about the artworks, discussing the different materials used, examining the role of the cats in each artwork - however parental discretion is necessary as there is some (human) nudity in the artworks selected.

There are two other titles in this series, including Dashing Dogs in the National Gallery of Victoria by Frances Lindsay (9780724103591) and Flourishing Flowers in the National Gallery of Victoria by Kirsty Grant (9780724103591).

Title: Curious Cats in the National Gallery of Victoria
Author: Laurie Benson
Publisher: National Gallery of Victoria
RRP: $24.95
Publication Date: 2012
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9780724103591
For ages: 12+
Type: Gift Book