ATTRIBUTED TO PIETER BOEL (1626-1674)
Study of a Vervet Monkey
Oil on paper laid down on canvas 36.5 x 28 cm
Private collection, the Netherlands
Pieter Boel was born in a family of artists in Antwerp. His father, the engraver Jan Boel and Jan Fyt were his teachers. After 1668 he moved to Paris, where he worked for Charles Le Brun in his tapestry workshop.
Pieter Boel is said to have revolutionized animal painting. Whereas artists had contented themselves before with making static studies from stuffed animals, Boel drew and painted his animals from life in the menagerie at Versailles. Which shows early trade in live animals, and not only natural curiosities.
Thus represented animals in their natural poses. His naturalism influenced a long line of great animal artists, from the painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry to the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye.
His animal studies were used as models for the animals in the foreground of a large tapestry, referred to as ‘ The Months’ or ‘ The Royal Houses’. The French painter François Desportes copied several of his paintings and as a result, it was believed that the original drawings were by Despiorted. It is only after it was confirmed that the originals had been made by Boel, that Boels’s reputation as an animal painter was re-established.