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AFFE MIT SCHÄDEL
Artist: Hugo Rheinhold (1853–1900)
Medium: bronze
Height: 30 cm
Base: 20 x 20 cm
Weight: 8 kg
Patina: Antique / Penny Bronze
Limited Edition
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Affe mit Schädel
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The Affe mit Schädel (monkey with skull), is a famous work by the late-19th century German sculptor Hugo Rheinhold. The statuette is otherwise known as the "Affe einen Schädel betrachtend" (monkey viewing or contemplating a skull). It was first exhibited in 1893 at the Große Berliner Kunstaustellung (Great Berlin Art Exhibition). The Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) is sitting atop a higgledy-piggledy pile of books and manuscripts. The subject is likely female, in the absence of any contradictory evidence. She has in her right forepaw a human skull, echoing the scene in Shakespeare's Hamlet where the Prince of Denmark bereaves Yorick ("Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him..."). She cradles her chin with her other forepaw in a contemplative posture. Her left foot holds the shin of her right leg as if to steady it or support the calipers held by her right foot. A spine of one of the closed books reads "Darwin". The book open at her feet and facing the viewer has a single inscription on the right hand page: "eritis sicut deus" from Genesis 3.5 when the serpent is enticing Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden against the Lord's command, promising "And ye shall be as God [knowing good and evil]"), however the second half of this quote is missing, ripped from the lower half of the page.

The main difference between our Limited and Luxury editions is in the amount of detail hand crafted into the pieces. The Luxury edition is very special with the amount of dedicated skills and expertise reflected in its price. The Limited Edition was introduced to make a more affordable quality piece.

The Limited and Luxury editions also differ in the quality of the base metal by the foundry. The Luxury edition uses the highest quality bronze which relates to impurities although there is little difference to the eye. After that the time spent on each piece determines the cost. The Luxury Edition is more expensive because the chasing, to introduce fine detail, and that takes much longer to produce this noticeable difference.

Nonetheless, the Limited Edition is a very handsome thing, and one can easily see all the fine details inherent to Rheinhold's original concept: the chimp’s muscles and fur, digits, expression, etc are all there, plus the book pages and writing on the spine and open page. The patina is lighter than the Luxury item, but it is evenly applied and equates to an antique bronze.

The level of detail in the Luxury edition is exquisite such that when the light bounces off the layering in the fur, the brow ridge, and the page edges and ripped pages, and the deeper patina, it just looks and feels more than perfect. The Luxury Edition is undeniably a thing of beauty.

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