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The Cover
December 15, 1999

Still Life With Monkey, Fruits, and Flowers

JAMA. 1999;282(23):2193. doi:10.1001/jama.282.23.2193

The little known animalier Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) is only today, some two-and-a-half centuries after his death, beginning to recover some of the immense popularity he enjoyed during his lifetime. The son of Jacques Oudry, a well-known painter and successful picture dealer, Jean-Baptiste was born only weeks after his father had been made Master Painter in the Academy of St Luke in Paris. He began his formal studies at age 18 with Michel Serre but within the year had begun an apprenticeship with Nicholas de Largillierre that would last for five years. Largillierre, who was then at the height of his career, was a native Parisian but had spent his artistically formative years in Antwerp and worked in the Flemish-Dutch, rather than in the French, tradition. His influence would be evident in Oudry's canvasses for the rest of Oudry's life: the importance of surface, the necessity for detail, and the reverential depiction of objects, imbuing them with a life of their own. His father's influence would also be evident for the remainder of Oudry's life, for he had learned from him the art of administration—eventually becoming director of the Beauvais tapestry works—and the art of salesmanship, raising the latter to a pitch worthy of any 20th-century bait-and-switch huckster.

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