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Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Perronneau: 'A Girl with a Kitten'

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Although it bears the artist's signature and the date 1745, it has been thought to be a later imitation of Perronneau, because of some uncertainty in the treatment of the anatomy and an excess of that charm associated with 18th-century French portraits of children. It may, however, be an original.

The girl, who has not been identified, has been posed by the artist, and the kitten by the girl; the apparent naturalness of the portrait is dependent on artifice. A cat is sometimes included in portraits of children as a symbol of the wildness of nature intruding upon the innocence of childhood.

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