JAN BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER AND STUDIO | Allegories of the Five Senses


Jan Brueghel the Younger and Studio
ANTWERP 1601 - 1678

Quantity: 5
A set of five, all oil on oak panel
each: 56.8 x 89.2 cm.; 22 1/2 x 35 in.

In the collection of Doña Fernanda María Josefa Clementina Narcisa de Salabert y Arteaga, 9th Marquesa de Valdeolmos (b. 1859) and her husband Don Mariano Maldonado y Dávalos, 7th Conde de Villagonzalo y Marqués de la Escala (b. 1851);
By family descent to D. Alfonso Maldonado y Chávarri, 10th Marqués de Valdeolmos, Grande de España (b. 1953);
Passed on his death in 2010 to his widow, the 11th Marquesa de Valdeolmos;
From whom acquired by the present owner by private treaty sale through Sotheby’s in 2012.

This set of The Five Senses – a subject widely depicted in Flemish painting – was inspired by the celebrated series today at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, one of the most successful collaborations between the artist’s father Jan (1568–1625) and Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640). This is one of very few remaining sets by Jan Brueghel the Younger and his studio still intact today. The attribution is endorsed by Dr Fred G. Meijer, who on the basis of photographs believes these works to be a collaboration between Jan Brueghel the Younger and his studio. Only one other set by Jan Brueghel the Younger has been sold on the open market in recent years, its compositions based directly on the Elder Brueghel’s prototypes at the Prado, rather than the more simplified adaptations by the Younger Brueghel visible in the present set.1 As in the Prado set, Brueghel has placed his figures in magnificent courtly settings to enhance their appeal. Of the five senses – Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and Touch – Sight was considered since the time of Aristotle to be the most important. In a fine state of preservation the works are painted on prepared oak panels, of which the back of one reveals the stamp of the City of Antwerp’s panel-makers’ guild.2

1 This set was sold New York, Christie’s, 3 October 2001, lot 98, for $3,856,000 aggregate, all oil on panel, each 70.2 x 113.3 cm.

2 Each of the oak panels may well bear this mark, although in the other four paintings this may be covered by the panels’ painted reverses.