European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
Monkey in a Studio
Antoine Vollon, French, 1833 - 1900
Oil on panel
Currently not on view
Cat. 1108John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
LabelIn this study of an artist's studio, Vollon creates an allegory of the liberal arts. The score and trumpet represent music, the books philosophy, the canvas on the easel painting, and the various works scattered throughout the studio sculpture. At the rear are casts from Michelangelo's Medici tombs in Florence, and of Minerva, the Roman goddess of the arts. In depicting a monkey as an artist, Vollon evokes a seventeenth-century Dutch tradition of satirizing the artist as imitator of nature, or "art as the ape of nature."