- Inventory number
- Brueghel the Elder, Jan; Rubens, Peter Paul
- 64 cm x 109 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, Armería, 1734, nº 141).
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.
A satyr pours nectar of the gods into a sumptuous goblet held by a nymph leaning on a table full of food, alluding to taste and its relation to the idea of abundance.
In this apparently pagan, lustful and animal-natured setting, the garland and the three paintings in the background bear a moral and Christological meaning. The Offering to Cibeles reveals a disproportionate fondness for abundance and wealth; The Abundant Kitchen, near the top, while less refined than the palace tables, alludes to human weakness in the face of gluttony, which is more moderate in the Rustic Kitchen and The Wedding Feast at Canna.