Skip to Main Content

Cats in the National Gallery of Art's Permanent Collection

Heidi Applegate, guest lecturer

In this lecture, presented at the National Gallery of Art on December 9, 2019, guest lecturer Heidi Applegate explored the depiction of cats across a wide range of artistic media, genres, and styles in the Gallery’s collection. Throughout history, artists have represented lions as the trusted companions of gods and saints and as a symbol of royalty, courage, and strength. Other feline species—domestic cats in particular—may often represent less noble qualities.