SPOTLIGHT STORIES

The Year of the Monkey

Explore the primate psyche with these artful monkeys...

Intelligent, quick-witted and agile, the monkey is one of the 12 animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac, and 2016 was the 'Year of the Monkey'.

According to Chinese legend, the monkey only finished ninth in the Jade Emperor's Great Race. But the animal still occupies a top spot among art subjects. Here's a selection of some of our favorites from across the globe that show the different sides of the monkey zodiac sign's personality.

Let's follow monkeys as they swing through art history...

1. Sociable Monkey

Monkeys, Chao Shao-an, 1960-1970 (Hong Kong Heritage Museum)

2. Wise Monkey

The Monkey King Sun Wukong, Kubo Shunman, 1812 (Freer and Sackler Galleries)

3. Restless Monkey

Monkeys and Rabbits, Seiho Takeuchi, 1908 (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)

4. Curious Monkey

Sword Ornament Representing a Monkey with a Cricket, Kwahu, 1930 - 1940 (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

5. Sensitive Monkey

Monkey holding baby monkey, 1 BCE - 1 CE (Freer and Sackler Galleries)

6. Agile Monkey

Zooorphic Figurine, Jama-Coaque, 500 BCE - 1530 CE (Museo Casa del Alabado)

7. Suspicious Monkey

Figure of Monkey Seated on Ovoid Base, Unknown, ca. 1352-1336 BCE (Brooklyn Museum)

8. Gentle Monkey

The Virgin and Child with the Monkey, Albrecht Dürer, c. 1498 (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

9. Friendly Monkey

Self-portrait with Small Monkey, Frida Kahlo, 1945 (Museo Dolores Olmedo)

10. Powerful Monkey

Sugriva, Unknown (Crafts Museum, Delhi)

Lastly, the monkey is well-known for loving its food...

11. Greedy Monkey

A Monkey, George Stubbs, 1799 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

12. Lucky Monkey!

The Thieving Monkey, Jakob Bogdani, c. 1700 (Maryhill Museum of Art)
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