- Inventory number
- Teniers, David
- The Monkey Painter
- Ca. 1660
- 24 cm x 32 cm
- Genre and Society
- On display
- Royal Collection (acquisition of Isabel Farnesio, 1759-1766; Buenavista Palace, 1766, n. 91 (1); New Royal Palace, Madrid, “gabinete colgado de verde”, 1772, n. 91; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “retrete”, 1794, s. n.; Royal Palace, Madrid, “retrete a la inglesa”, 1814-1818, s.n.)
The teacher at this money school punishes one of the students while another seems to be interceding on his behalf. Behind, the rest of the students look on in fear from their tables.
This is a criticism of the bad social attitudes whose stupidity and lack of rational thought is symbolized here by monkeys. Teniers dealt with this matter on several occasions. In the present example, he is clearly criticizing the educational system, which would seem to be capable only of training students that, like monkeys, irrationally repeat what they have learned.
This work show's the artist's debt to his forerunners. The drawing on the wall alludes to his teacher, Adriaen Brouwer, who set the guidelines with his most expressionist works, while the composition follows a model by Pieter Brueghel “the Elder” which depicted a school with the same critical sense.