Dressing the Kitten

          the Kitten 
Dressing the Kitten, by Joseph Wright, c. 1768
Chiaroscuro is the obvious
intention of the artist with respect
to this domestic scene: two girls, a puss,
a doll, a candle. Light and dark direct
all viewers into playtime, likely staged
for painting, though both children seem content
with roles assigned. The older is engaged
in holding up the pet which may resent
such handling, while the younger turns her head
to flash a smile at someone looking on,
perhaps producing. But the doll seems dead,
laid out so still and stiff, its charm now gone,
its clothes intended for the kitten. What
a moment! Lasting yet immediate.

Jane Blanchard

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Jane Blanchard would be pleased to hear them.