Inventory number
P01395
Author
Brueghel the Elder, Jan; Rubens, Peter Paul
Title
Hearing
Chronology
1617 - 1618
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimensions
64 cm x 109,5 cm
School
Flemish
Theme
Allegory
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Duke of Neoburg; Cardinal-Infante Fernando of Austria; Duke of Medina de las Torres; Felipe IV; Royal Alcázar Palace, Madrid, 1636; Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “pinturas recogidas de las Casas Arzobispales”, 1747, n. 302)

This set of paintings on the five senses (Sight, P01394; Hearing, P01395; Smell, P01396; Taste, P01397; Touch, P01398) was one of the most successful collaborations of Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel “the elder.”

Rubens placed his figures in the magnificent courtly scenes created by Brueghel as settings for these allegories of the senses, resulting in a series of enormous quality and esthetic appeal. The subject was widely employed in Flemish painting.

Music, which is perceived through hearing, is the protagonist of this composition. Venus plays the lyre and sings, accompanied by a cupid. The stag at her side symbolizes hearing, as it love music so much that it lies down to listen.

On the pavement in the foreground is a rich still life of musical instruments and scores, on the left; and hunting calls, on the right.

The symbolism of hearing is strengthened by the pictorial representations that adorn the room's walls: Concert of the Muses, Orpheus Taming the Wild Beasts with Music, The Annunciation and Announcement to the Shepherds, on the top of the clavichord.

 
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