Wednesday, October 31, 2018

TWO MONKEYS by Peter Breugel

Two Monkeys by Pieter Breugel
When I was researching my book Monkey (Morrow Junior Books, 1993), I ran across this unusual painting by 16th Century Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder depicting two red-tailed macaques chained to a windowsill overlooking the harbor in Antwerp. My book, illustrated with photos by Richard Hewett, depicts the same species and follows the growth of a young macaque at the Los Angeles Zoo.
A friend just sent me the link to an article about the painting, which is currently on exhibit in Vienna. The panel is one of 28 paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (only 40 of his works are known to survive) on display in a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
No one knows what might have inspired Pieter Bruegel to choose the monkeys as his subject in this small painting or what they signify. However, the red-tailed macaques, native to the forests of west Africa, surely must have been as fascinating and exotic to the citizens of Antwerp as they are to visitors to the zoo today.
My book Monkey is out of print in hardcover but available as an ebook on Amazon.

No comments: