Monkey as a Painter

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Sebastien Chardin, Monkey as a Painter, 1740
By ANIRUDH VADLAMANI

This painting defines the times we live in. A simple look around and we see numerous things already in the monkey's studio. A statue with his arm broken off in typical late baroque style made in porcelain,  a worn coat... but what about the monkey? The monkey is you. Are you confused? Then let me explain.

You are the monkey. A mindless creature forced to obey his master, the monkey does not have a say in what he can paint. Painting used to be an art to appease one's soul, however times like these where the disparity in classes is so large, people are forced to come across this money in different ways. Rather than art being a way to diffuse your emotion and prowess in physical means, now the artist is painting with something already in his head ready to appease the highest bidder. Did my good friend Chardin want to create this painting? No, but he just thought, monkey see, monkey do.

The execution of the painting isn't all too great. I believe that the message it conveys is greater. The artist's palette is dark and the edges are skewed and seem rushed. The monkey appears to be in pain but that's probably because his surrounding is messy and not too well done. The top of the easel is very strange. I would say that it's because of perspective but there isn't a vanishing point.

I would sell this painting to who I think deserves it. The person that deserves it is the one who understands the painting and appreciates the paintings message and values. In the eye of the worthy, this painting symbolizes the Late Baroque period while to the lay man this painting is nothing but a Monkey as Painter. So buy it if you must but be warned. But I can't control your actions. You know what they say, "Monkey see, Monkey do."

Editor's Note: The authors were asked to write sales copy for Edme-François Gersaint, the prominent rococo art dealer who offered a printed catalog of available works.



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