Animals in paradise

I have a widget on my computer which I very much enjoy. It's the Rijksmuseum widget and treats you daily to a new painting from the Rijksmuseum collection in Amsterdam. If you press the refresh-like arrow the canvas flips over and on the back you can read a small summary of what the painting is about. And there is a clickable link to the pages dedicated to the work over on the Rijksmuseum site. Very well done, very high quality, lovely jubbly for iconophiles like me. Today's featured painting was Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem's 'The Fall of Man' painted in 1592.
The page featuring this artwork has another interesting feature. There is a function you can engage. The "Read This Page" function reads the page aloud, so it can help disabled surfers. That is a very good idea, and also a requirement. National institutions need to comply to disability access rules and this includes websites. So I tried it. It's very good. And very annoying at the same time. The text reads: "They refer to the various human temperaments." And the voice reads it as: "They refer to the various human link temperaments." It actually says 'LINK'. Every time there is a word with a link it does that.
I like this painting because of a very silly detail. The monkey and the cat. It is the sweetest bit of the Mannerist work. It's not the most scientific reason why I like it, but it will do for this blog post.

"The ape next to Adam refers to the 'sanguine' (hot-blooded, lustful) temperament, which it was thought to be particularly typical of men. The cat, lovingly cradled by the ape, symbolises the choleric (cruel, nasty) temperament, to which women have tended ever since the Eve."

At first glance both mammals look the best of chums. Sweet little monkey and itty bitty kitty cat are so fluffy and lovable. It would make everyone fill up with a warm glow of cuddles and smiles. It makes me smile too but for a very different reason. I don't know about you, dear reader, but to me it looks like the monkey is in the process of loosening its choke-like hold on the cat just for the sake of the picture. Bearing in mind the epic Monkey/Bird debate this has a double meaning not every art historian is able to fathom. Monkeys are just soo done with the birds. Bring on the cats.

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