Jean Bourdichon, Tours, c. 1505–1510

Paris, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, M. 90–93

There, where a clear well springs, is the locus amoenus of poetry – a pleasant place, a perfect place to settle down; and this is what a couple of hairy creatures has done, taking shelter in a rock cave. The woman is breastfeeding a hairless boy, while the man stands upright, a staff in his hand; hands and feet, knees and nipples are hairless, as are both neck and face – the scene appears to derive from an observation of apes. It seems to suggest something like the dawn of history, as the sunlight in the distant background lights up the scene from behind, in strange contrast with the vision of the painter who throws light on the figures in the foreground.