Cats, Natalia Goncharova, 1911, Oil on canvas, Russian Futurism
This painting shows off the signature style of Rayonism. Started by Goncharova and her husband, Mikhail Larionov, this style took its name from rays of light. It uses intersecting vectors of color to depict these light rays. It’s said that this image is meant to depict two black cats and one tabby cat in between them. She uses darts of color to show the effects of light on the shiny coats and the way adjacent colors reflect off of them.
Natalia and Mikhail wanted to push the boundaries of how the human eye perceived colors and figures, much like Cubism. Mikhail himself stated that ‘Rayonism represented the true feeling of art from the former realistic conventions that oppressed the artistic community’. While this art style was very short lived and essentially only practice by these two artists, it paved the way for Abstract Art in Russia.