(b. 1597, Antwerpen, d. 1637, Antwerpen)

Allegory of the Five Senses

Oil on canvas, 207 x 288 cm
Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent

Art-lovers in the 16th and 17th centuries were very fond of emblematic paintings, although the content of a work of art often served merely as a pretext for a display of painterly ingenuity. The Allegory of the Five Senses by Theodore Rombouts fits this pattern perfectly. From left to right, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell are represented by figures and attributes set in a lively and colourful composition. The painting was commissioned by Bishop Anton Triest, a well-known patron of the arts in Ghent.