A cardinal finds humor in his adorable kittens’ antics in this work by Italian Cardinal painter Andrea Landini. Entitled His Favorites, the painting displays a wonderful sense of realism, exhibiting Landini’s skill for rendering texture, light, shadow and detail with each and every brushstroke. For over a century, his works have been distinguished by his uncanny gift for meticulous workmanship and beloved for their intrinsic humor and charm.
Landini’s patrons during the late 19th century were drawn to his magnificent cardinals, for the irreverent subject matter was in line with the prevailing mood of disapproval in response to the extreme excesses of the clergy. Paintings of this subject matter would have certainly come with severe legal punishment if Landini had created them during an earlier period in history, but during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, patience and trust in the clergy was waning, making such comical commentaries of high members of the Church not only acceptable, but greatly desirable. Today, Landini’s highly detailed works are in high demand for both their photorealism and as expressions of artistic free speech.
Born in Florence in 1847, Andrea Landini trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, first under the animal painter Riccardo Pasquini and later with religious painter Antonio Ciseri. Landini quickly made a name for himself as a painter of portraits, attracting clients such as the Signora Guerrazzi of Livorno, the contessa Lavinia Bocca, the writer signora Elena Landini Ruffino and the Princess of Wales. While his portraits made him a success during his lifetime, today he is best remembered for his highly detailed genre scenes, and particularly his Cardinal paintings such as this.