Ginger cat Zarathustra has been everywhere, from replacing Adam in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel mural, to watching over Edward Hopper’s lonely people in bars. And, of course, he’s been to space! But you don’t have to believe us. Following @fatcatart will keep you up to date with Zarathustra’s adventures across the history of art, as the feline “improves famous paintings and movies”.
Although at first glance the collages might seem like a light-hearted project, Zarathustra’s owner, Svetlana Petrova, first started @fatcatart in 2014 in a bid to overcome personal grief. Petrova had inherited the pet from her mother, who passed away in 2008. “Zarathustra saved me from depression after my mother’s death,” she explains. “I was so close to my mother, and I miss her so much. Zarathustra was and is a living memory of my mother.” After a friend of Petrova’s commented that the artist and curator had stopped making art since inheriting Zarathustra, she decided to create @fatcatart. “I thought: why not, it’ll be fun,” she recalls.
After photoshopping Zarathustra into Dutch still lifes, Rembrandt’s Danae, and other classics, Petrova sent her first creations to friends working as artists or gallerists. “Never before have I seen serious women truly crying with laughter, or having to lie down because they’d been laughing so much,” she remembers. Soon after, Petrova launched FatCatArt.com, which sells posters, prints, and calendars of Zarathustra’s ventures. She also makes sure to list the chubby pet as her co-creator. “I am very serious when I say that he is my co-author,” Petrova insists, describing the cat’s talent as a model, with his expressive mimicry and postures, at length.
For Petrova, @fatcatart is also a friendly educational project, taking followers on a journey across the history of art. Indeed, she relishes the fact that prestigious museums, like Vienna’s Albertina Museum, or Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, have shared her (sorry: we mean their) works.