Why are there so many 17th century paintings of monkeys getting drunk?

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Maskull

Your an ignorant idiot.
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Solid Snek

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According to this blog, the most widely-held interpretation is that drunken monkeys were simply seen as a fun thing to paint. However, the author argues that there was likely a deeper significance to these paintings; they were, he claims, a kind of early-modern Reefer Madness, meant as social commentary about the dangers of the new drugs that had become available to Europeans, including tobacco, opium, and distilled spirits.

It also has quite a few examples of monkey paintings:

27779399753_5a2f8cb96d_c.jpg27779396993_3d8f78e198_o.jpg27778702184_17072488f8_o.jpg28362086996_9c9fcf7f1f_o.jpgJan_Breughel_I-Singerie.jpg27779399303_5314be04d1_b.jpg

I don't know. The author may simply be reading a modern bias into these paintings.