Monkeys play a great role in the work of Coryn (Quirjin) Boel the Younger (1620-1668), engraver of Brussels and Antwerp. Specialized in making engravings of old masters, especially those of David Teniers, he often shows monkeys playing backgammon, giving concerts, or enjoying sophisticated breakfasts. At a time when most of healthcare in Europe was provided by scantily trained barber-surgeons, why not also show monkeys stitching up minor cuts, preparing medicinal potions, or taking care of foot problems, as well as performing their traditional functions of shaving and cutting hair?
|The Barber-Surgeon’s Shop Operated by Monkeys by Coryn Boel, after David Teniers II. Mid- 17th century. Philadelphia Museum of Art.|