It was the publication of Darwin's On The Origin of Species in that brought the connection between the human and animal worlds into sharpest focus and had the most profound effect on our perception of animals.
Germany’s Beliebers manage monkey business
In contrast, Gabriel Max's painting The Jury of Apes reflects a post-darwinian approach to depicting monkeys. Max reportedly painted the picture to express his unhappiness about the works selected for the first annual art exhibition in Munich. But he uses monkeys to criticize the jury in a new way. He was a darwinist who corresponded with German zoologist Ernst Haeckel, a promoter of evolutionary theory.
Max kept monkeys as pets and his painting shows how carefully he must have observed them. The many different species in his jury are identifiable and behave naturally, despite being shown in an unnatural habitat, clustered together on a packing crate. They are not dressed up or caricatured.
If Max intended to criticize the jurors, he does so by subtly implying that the jurors have lost their natural instincts when confronted by art, unlike the monkeys in his painting. The Munich jurors might be stupid, but the monkeys are not. Reprints and Permissions. Nature By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines.
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Charles Darwin changed the way animals were viewed in art. Rights and permissions Reprints and Permissions.
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