Art for Ape Sake

A suite of anthropomorphic engravings
from 1635 by Quirin Boel & David Teniers

2 monkeys with a monkey-filled globe of the world

Twee apen houden een wereldbol
Two monkeys holding a globe

Twee apen maken muziek, Quirin Boel, 1635

Twee apen maken muziek
Two monkeys making music

Twee apen spelen triktrak, Quirin Boel, 1635

Twee apen spelen triktrak
Two monkeys playing backgammon

Twee apen kaarten, Quirin Boel, 1635

Twee apen kaarten
Two monkeys playing cards

Twee apen roken pijp, Quirin Boel, 1635

Twee apen roken pijp
Two monkeys smoking a pipe

Twee apen eten oesters, Quirin Boel, 1635

Twee apen eten oesters
Two monkeys eating oysters

Een aap legt een verband aan, Quirin Boel, 1635

Een aap legt een verband aan
Two monkeys: one heating a compound; the other applying a dressing (?)

This small print series is called ‘Verschillende Bedrijven uit het Menselijke Leven Door Apen Voorgesteld’ [approx: Various episodes of human life performed by monkeys] from designs by the Flemish painter David Teniers.

The engravings were executed by (or after) Quirin Boel (or Coryn Bol). The series is dated 1635 which would make Boel 15 years old at the time of publication. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and the prints are certainly less sophisticated than his later engraving work, but I would have presumed Boel’s date of birth or the printing date (or both) is/are inaccurate. Alternatively, 1635 is the date the designs were conceived; it’s a little ambiguous to me and of passing interest in the great scheme. It simply caught my attention because it’s a fun set of parodic/comical figures.


The series was found via the newly revamped Rijksmusem, in particular the API service and specifically through the Arkyves ICONCLASS search database that uses the API. All this means is that there are now many and varied ways to sample or store digitised material or build applications on the massive holdings of the Rijksmuseum. Thanks very much to Charley of Lines and Color for the heads up.

Rijksmuseum hompage.


(Via BibliOdyssey)

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