Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition, 1st 2011. Clean, tight and bright copy.
This is a delightfully illustrated exploration of the whimsical monkey motifs popular in eighteenth-century France. Although monkeys had been used to mimic man and his foibles in the margins of medieval illuminated manuscripts, a taste for depictions of elegant monkeys developed among the French aristocracy at the end of the seventeenth century. This delightful book traces the evolution of the monkey motif into a distinct genre known as singerie (from the French word 'single' meaning monkey) during the exuberant Rococo period. The designer and engraver Jean Berain (1640-1711) was the first to insert monkeys into scenes of Renaissance grotesque decoration. But it was Christophe Huet (1700-1759), an acclaimed painter of animals, who produced the best-known surviving examples of singeries for the Chateau de Chantilly north of Paris. Huet's life and work is the focus of this book. In his whimsical paintings monkeys, acting as surrogates for the chateau's aristocratic occupants and guests, are shown singing and dancing, bathing, hunting boar, and sledding on the frozen lake.