(b. 1759, Amsterdam, d. 1793, Amsterdam)

Conversation Piece (The Sense of Smell)

c. 1791
Oil on canvas, 66 x 60 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This painting is a characteristic work by Jan Ekels, who specialised in sober interiors with one or a few figures. It comes from a series of five canvases depicting the Five Senses, of which four paintings are presently known. Each painting shows two men and a woman in a room, which is furnished with a colourful rug, a covered table with the same kind of chairs. The backgrounds all feature a bare wall with a curtain pulled to one side and a door with an overdoor painting depicting a classical relief. The present painting represents the Sense of Smell.