A Monkey

George Stubbs1799

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Stubbs painted many exotic animals, either ascommissions from zoologists or for his own interest. The animal here has often been called ‘A Green Monkey’, but this species has a black face. This monkey has been identified as a Malayan long-tailed or crab-eating macaque. This was not a rare species and Stubbs may have seen the animal in one of London’s small zoos, known as menageries. His first picture of this monkey was painted in 1774. This is an exact copy made by him 25 years later. He records the animal in great detail but may also be referring to man’s relationship to monkeys by adding a tree and a peach, symbolising the Garden of Eden and mankind’s original state of nature.

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  • Title: A Monkey
  • Creator: George Stubbs
  • Date Created: 1799
  • tag / style: George Stubbs; Monkey; fruit; Malayan; long-tailed; crab-eating macaque
  • Physical Dimensions: w559 x h700 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: George Stubbs is possibly the most famous artist to have been born in Liverpool. He is also usually considered to have been one of the greatest of all British animal painters. Information about his early training is uncertain. It is thought that he initially learned to paint under the supervision of the Liverpool landscape artist, Hamlet Winstanley (1698-1756). Stubbs may also have taught himself to paint. Throughout his life Stubbs displayed an inquisitive scientific temperament. He was particularly interested in the anatomical construction of animals, birds and humans. He did dissections to further his knowledge. He also tried out new surfaces upon which to do his painting. His illustrated book 'The Anatomy of the Horse ', published in 1766, gained him a Europe-wide reputation. To learn more about George Stubbs and his artworks in the collections of National Museums Liverpool, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/featuredartists/stubbs/ George Stubbs was the subject of an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in 2006. To learn more about the exhibition, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/stubbs/
  • Additional artwork information: To take a closer look at this painting and the story behind it, and to learn more about George Stubbs, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/18c/stubbs-monkey.aspx
  • Type: Oil on panel
  • Rights: Purchased in 1950


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