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Alexis Peyrotte

An Ape Preaching


Alexis Peyrotte
Mazan, France, 1699 – Paris 1769


An Ape Preaching


About 1760


Gouache on cardboard


28.5 x 35.7 cm


Gift in memory of Isaac Battat, from his family, inv. 2010.95


Western Art

This lively and satirical gouache is an example of singerie, a playful form of Rococo decoration featuring monkeys in costume playing human roles, fashionable in the reign of Louis XV. From the wicker basket he is using as a pulpit, a monkey dressed as a monk is preaching to a gaggle of turkeys in a clearing. The technique of this little picture and many stylistic parallels with other works by the artist confirm an attribution to Peyrotte. “Painter to the King and Designer of Furniture to the Crown,” Peyrotte was one of his principal ornamentalists and his favourites, executing amusing decors of chinoiseries and singeries for their apartments. For less wealthy connoisseurs, Peyrotte created these witty gouaches on the absurdities of his time. This bestialization contributed to the virulence of a growing anticlericalism during the Age of Enlightenment and among the freethinking philosophes.

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