The picture shows two monkeys chained to an iron ring and sitting in a vaulted window opening. The two animals have obviously come to terms with their sad fate. One is crouching on the floor, with his back bent and huddling in on himself, staring into space, while the other is looking at the viewer. Behind them is a view of an open landscape, flooded with bright daylight, and seen without transition, as though from a high look-out post. The city of Antwerp basks under a pale blue sky. The monkeys Bruegel has painted are of the genus ceropithecidae, collared mangabeys, which inhabit the west coast of Africa. However, Bruegel’s picture is not an animal study but an allegory of captivity and the hope of a free life that is inherent in all creatures.


  • Title: Two Chained Monkeys
  • Creator: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
  • Date Created: 1562
  • Physical Dimensions: w23.0 x h20.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oak wood
  • Style: Netherlandish
  • Inv. No.: 2077
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-017018
  • Copyright Text: Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Rainald Grosshans
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist Place of Death: Brussels, Belgium
  • Artist Place of Birth: Breda, Netherlands
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: 1525/30
  • Acquired: 1931

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