Mother cat with 3 kittens - Gottfried Mind - Framed Picture 16" x 12"
Gottfried Mind was a Swiss autistic savant who specialized in drawing. He was called the Raphael of Cats because of the excellence with which he painted that animal.
Herr Gruner was a lover of art. During the summer, he had a German artist named Legel in his house who often drew buildings and cattle from nature. This excited the attention of young Mind in some of his idle rambles: he followed Legel everywhere, and watched him while he worked.
Legel would take him along with him in his walks, or amuse him in his own apartment with exhibitions of prints. In particular, he allowed the boy to turn over Ridinger's Animals, of which Herr Gruner had a collection; some of these Mind tried to imitate with the lead pencil, preferring above all lions. These attempts Legel from time to time corrected, and the youngster at length ventured to draw from nature, like his master, and to draw some sheep, goats, and cats.
It is not known how long he remained at the academy for poor children, but he came to the painter Sigmund Hendenberger at Bern. With him, Mind learnt his art of drawing, and colouring with water-colours. Mind's education dealt mostly with art; he could with difficulty be made to write his name, and he had not the slightest idea of arithmetic.
Mind's special talent for representing cats was discovered and awakened by chance. At the time when Hendenberger was painting that since-published picture of the peasant cleaving wood before his cottage, with his wife sitting by, and feeding her child with pap out of a pot, round which a cat is prowling, Mind cast a broad stare on the sketch of this last figure, and said in his rugged, laconic way, "That is no cat!" Hendenberger asked, with a smile, whether Mind thought he could do it better. Mind offered to try; he went into a corner, and drew the cat, which Hendenberger liked so much that he made his new pupil finish it out, and the master copied the scholar's work.