Glossary

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Cat

Cats have long been domestic animals - essential for the control of vermin - and often feature in paintings. However, before the 18th century they were rarely treated as lap pets in European art.

Black cats in particular are traditionally associated with witches. This idea originates in Roman mythology where a priestess of Hecate (goddess of the underworld) was transformed into a cat. The animals were also regarded as symbols of liberty in ancient Rome.

 
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