Monkey Orchestra by Peter Strang

Monkey Orchestra by Peter Strang

Focused on Essentials

People with great ideas often have to win others over to them first. When Peter Strang proposed re-interpreting Kaendler’s Monkey Orchestra, there was initial unease in the Manufactory’s halls. Are we allowed to do that to a work by the almighty Kaendler? Is that not betraying our own long tradition? Not at all, quite the contrary! The crucial thing in MEISSEN® art, after all, is that the principles of handicraft must always be adhered to. And this is something the graduate sculptor and former Modeller-in Chief achieves with mastery.

 

Strang’s musicians are every bit as versatile and artistically accomplished as their forbears by Kaendler. And yet our modeller has interpreted the historical prototypes in an inimitably “Strangian” manner: he deliberately pares his figurines down to essentials, focusing on their expressions and, above all, painstakingly sharpening up their heads and hands. These are the sort of special touches that cause connoisseurs to nod knowingly when viewing any of Strang’s works. 

The artist has evolved an entirely new mode of procedure for his figurines. He dispenses with model moulds and instead completely hand-builds each figure. As a result, the various figurines all have distinguishing features, a “personality” of their own. Their style of painting is consciously low-key in comparison with Kaendler’s famous predecessors – no polychrome dazzle, no intricate patterns, simply the primary colours blue , red and yellow, an approach that heightens the orchestra’s harmonious overall impact. With their mischievous faces, the ten musicians and their conductor are likely to elicit amazement, admiration and a wry smile from collectors, whilst also furnishing a marvellous example of how to tap novelty from tradition.