Monkeying Around in 2020

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I have a good feeling about this year. Something tells me it’s going to be fun and funny, yet poignant and productive. Not to mention the art. It’s going to be full of fantastic art- both new and old.

There’s a lot of pressure deciding what painting to feature in the first Nice and Easel post of the year. Of the decade! What is the perfect piece of art to kick off 2020? I knew the second I laid eyes on it.

You know I go bananas for animal art. 

David Teniers the Younger was quite prolific for a guy I’ve never ever heard of. In addition to being a very versatile artist, he was a curator, innovator, and educator. Apparently, he was the “leading Flemish genre painter of his day.” I mean- have you ever heard of him?! He’s a great painter! He’s credited with about two thousand paintings. That’s almost one for ever year since we switched from BC to AD! He was eighty years old when he passed away, so assuming he started painting the very year he was born… (math, math, math…) he doled out about 25 great paintings every year! 

Also, Teniers seems like fun. For one thing, he painted a monkey encampment, kicking off a monkey movement so fully adopted by artists across Europe that it got its own name: singerie. The dogs playing poker never got their own genre name, but you better believe Teniers monkeys did. Here are a few other singeries by other artists influenced by Teniers.

Monkeys in a barbershop! van der Borcht’s singerie is a “cut” above the rest.

What do you call an angry monkey? “Furious” George.

This captures the world’s first use of the phrase, “See you soon, baboon.”

Additionally, Wikipedia says Teniers was a miniaturist. You have to a have a certain je ne sais quoi to be a miniaturist, and I think it makes him that much more enduring. While some of his art may have been mini, his talent was giant. And you know any artists putting animals into their paintings holds the (mon)key to my heart.