The Monkey and the Cat

The Monkey and the Cat

probably 1670s

Abraham Hondius

(Dutch, c. 1625-1695)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 80 x 93.5 x 6 cm (31 1/2 x 36 13/16 x 2 3/8 in.); Unframed: 62.2 x 73.7 cm (24 1/2 x 29 in.)

Gift of The Butkin Foundation 1979.82

Description

This picture interprets one of Aesop’s ancient Greek fables (or probably the more contemporary interpretation by Jean de la Fontaine, even more famous at the time), which warns of the dangers of flattery. A monkey sweet-talks a cat into pulling scalding chestnuts out of the fire. The cat finishes the risky and painful task to discover that the monkey has already gobbled up nearly all of them.

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