Albrecht DurerGermany 1471-1528
Madonna with the Monkey OP 116
The monkey was a popular pet in the 15th century. It appears frequently in miniatures, engravings, and paintings in Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. As an iconographic figure, the monkey was commonly associated with lewdness, greed, and gluttony and was therefore a contrasting element to the purity of the Virgin and Christ child. As a prisoner of bodily pleasures it could also be said to be a contrast with the bird held by the Christ child, which represents the soul as a voluntary captive to the Savior. This is one of Durer's most beautiful images of the Virgin, not only because of the figures but because of the breadth and airiness of the landscape. The influence of Verrocchio and Leonardo and other Italian artists on Druer's is very evident.
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