Inventory number
Brueghel the Elder, Jan; Rubens, Peter Paul
1617 - 1618
65 cm x 111 cm
On display
Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, Pieza donde S. M. lee en el cuarto bajo, con vista al jardin de la priora, 1636, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Retiradico, 1666, nº 60; Real Alcázar, Pieça inmediata que llaman el Retiradico, 1686, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Pieza inmediata que llaman el Retiradico, 1701-1703, nº 318; Real Alcázar, Pinturas que se llevaron a la Armeria, 1734, nº 141; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, pinturas entregadas en dhas. Casas Arzobispales a Dn. Santiago de Bonabia, 1747, nº 141; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, Retrete del rey, 1772, nº 141; Palacio Nuevo, Segundo Gabinete, 1794, s.n.; Palacio Nuevo, Pieza verde de chimenea, 1814-1818, s.n., Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Salon 2º Escuela Flamenca, 1834, nº 61)

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.

The figures of Venus and Cupid stand out in a paradisiacal orchard with a variety of flowers, including lilies, roses, hollyhocks and tulips.

This garden is a testimony to the Flemish love of flowers, a passion shared with Isabel Clara Eugenia, who ordered the planting of an enormous number of flowers and fruit trees evocative of her homeland.

Their fragrance triumphs over the disagreeable smell of the civet cat curled up next to Venus. Not even the fine nose of the dog notices its presence.

It is signed on the lower edge, at the right.

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