Monday Double Shot (Wednesday Edition): Barrel of Monkeys


Among the many strange ambitions of Austrian painter Gabriel von Max (1840-1915) was to construct a beautiful human face over an orangutan’s skull. I’m not sure if he ever managed, but he did paint a number of startlingly human looking monkeys.

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Specimen #1: “Pithecanthropus Alalus” — a fantasy notion of early humans

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Specimen #2: “Congratulations!”

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Specimen #3: “Bitter Experience” The monkey used as the model for this was dead — pretty bitter experience, I’d say.

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Specimen #4: “Renunciation” — this one looks like Iago from Othello. Renunciation is for sissies.

See more of von Max’s monkeys (in high resolution) here.

British painter and illustrator John Charles Dollman (1851–1934) made routine and peculiar use of chimps in a variety of scenes from religious stories and popular fiction. Chimps and naked ladies appeared to be a popular combination. For reasons unknown, the naked lady is always on the right side of the canvas facing toward the left.

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Specimen #1: “The Unknown”

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Specimen #2: “The Temptation of St. Anthony”

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Specimen #3: “Mowgli made leader of the Bandar-log” (a scene from Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Half naked boy stands in for naked lady here — still more or less on the right side of the canvas oriented toward the left)

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Specimen #4: “The Temptation of St. Anthony” (a second treatment – apparently a subject of interest. Incidentally, I love what a thoroughly weird temptation this is. Also, check out the third chimp to the left of her. Good lord.)

Dollman is apparently best known for siring a zoologist, Guy Dollman. As you’ve probably already guessed, that would be the Guy Dollman — binomial authority on the Diminutive Gerbil. See more John Charles Dollman here.

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Your barista is Katie Taylor, a Portland-based writer, opera singer, director and librettist. Contact Katie at

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