Primates on the Loose at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Sounds like a lame excuse to post photos of my kids, doesn’t it? Yeah, well, only partially. In fact, here’s one to get us started.

Lux enjoying the paintings

Lux enjoying the paintings

But what I really wanted to post was a few that involve depictions of non-human primates.

The following depicts St. Dominic with the Devil in the form of a monkey. St. Dominic apparently seized the The Devil & made him hold the candle for him.

St. Dominic & the Devil (~1630) by Pietro della Vecchia, Italian (1603-1678)

St. Dominic & the Devil (~1630) by Pietro della Vecchia, Italian (1603-1678)
The story of the Devil’s appearance to St. Dominic in the form of a monkey derives from a medieval legend, according to which the saint seized his tormentor & forced him to hold a lighted candle while he studied. St Dominic released him only after the candle burned down & singed his fingers.

I really like the portrayal of the monkey. I wonder what species it’s supposed to be? Kinda generic. Here’s a close-up.

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In the African Art hall, I found this statue of a baboon.

baboon figure, wood, incrustation, cloth, early 20th century, Baule people, Cote d'Ivoire

baboon figure, wood, incrustation, cloth, early 20th century, Baule people, Cote d’Ivoire
Among the Baule people, baboon-like figures represent supernatural forces that provide protection to the community. Substances encrusted on the surface come from sacrifices made to the figure in order to combat sorcery & ensure success in hunting, farming, & disease control.

In the Asian Art Hall, I heard Japanese music playing & thought I heard a lecture, as they woman’s voice carried over the top of everything. I kept looking & finally found her here. Not a lecture but doing some loud talking that reverberated throughout the gallery. If she’d been upstairs in the Modern Art wing, I’d have thought she was an installation (& wouldn’t have been allowed to take photos of her).

Photo by Loretta Lynn

Photo by Loretta Lynn

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