Inventory number
P01394
Author
Brueghel the Elder, Jan; Rubens, Peter Paul
Title
Sight
Chronology
1617
Technique
Oil
Support
Panel
Dimensions
64,7 cm x 109,5 cm
School
Flemish
Theme
Allegory
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, Armería, 1734, nº 144; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, pinturas recogidas de las Casas Arzobispales, 1747, nº 144; Palacio Real, Madrid, cuarto del mayordomo mayor, 1814-1818, s.n.)

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.

Sight was considered the most important of the senses since the time of Aristotle. Here, Cupid shows Venus a painting on a Christian theme, The Healing of the Blind Man, which alludes to the recovery of sight through one of Christ's miracles and thus touches on both physical and spiritual vision.

The presence of a canvas with Saint Cecilia, a copy of Raphael's original, alongside some Roman busts, recalls the soul's introspective vision, an image of chastity and virtue.

Jan Brueghel was a protégé of the Archdukes Alberto and Isabel Clara Eugenia, and in this work he includes their portraits and a view of their Palace at Mariemont.

This work is signed on a paper close to the goddess's seat.

 
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