There was adoration, admiration and fame, later disparagement and oblivion and finally a triumphant comeback. This is how one can characterize the different stages that Janis Rozentāls’ (1866-1916) “The Princess and the Monkey” (Princese ar pērtiķi) went through starting from its first drafts to its final finishing touches.

"Princess and the Monkey" was first displayed in public in March 1913 at the 3rd Exhibition of the Baltic Artists Union at Riga City Museum. However it became better known later in summer, when it was displayed at the International Exhibition in Munich and its reproduction rights were bought by the Leipzig Velhagen & Klasings Publishing House.

The Latvian artist painted several replicas of the original painting, varying the size and introducing different details. Nevertheless, one of the most brilliant takes to this day is owned by the Latvian National Museum of Art.

Rozentāls’ art represents a beautiful fusion between the school of traditional Latvian painting and themes and motifs of Art Nouveau and Symbolism. Always hard-working, Janis Rozentāls spent most of his time in his studio which was located on Alberta Street nr.12. This building now houses Rozentāls’ museum and the Art Nouveau Museum of Riga.

Therefore, let us greet the upcoming year with the wit and agility of the monkey while fusing the traditional heritage with our contemporary experiences to better succeed in our future endeavours.

Have a happy 2016 – the year of the monkey!

princess with a monkey painting

“The Princess and the Monkey” (1913) by artist Janis Rozentāls
Latvian Institute, 12.01.2016, Art, Celebration