What Does This 17th-Century Painting Smell Like? | Smart News

What Does This 17th-Century Painting Smell Like? | Smart News

Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, The Perception of Scent, 1617–1618
General public domain by way of Wikimedia Commons

A get the job done of artwork has the electric power to transport its viewer to a different time and area. Now, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain, is having that plan a single stage more with a new exhibition that incorporates smell to enrich the encounter of a 17th-century portray.

For every a assertion from the museum, “The Essence of a Portray: An Olfactory Exhibition” focuses exclusively on The Perception of Scent, a work made by Belgian artists Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens in between 1617 and 1618. The show, on perspective by way of July 3, invites people to not only appear at the oil painting but also scent ten scents inspired by it.

For the display, Alejandro Vergara, the museum’s chief curator of Flemish and Northern European paintings, partnered with Gregorio Sola, a senior perfumer at Barcelona-based style and fragrance enterprise Puig and an tutorial at the Academia del Perfume in Madrid.

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Sola produced new fragrances primarily based on features of the portray, which depicts Venus and Cupid surrounded by unique flowers, birds, animals, and objects associated to perfume (such as distillation vessels and scented gloves). The scent “Fig Tree,” for example, brings the refreshing, vegetal scent of the fruit tree in the portray to lifetime, though “Allegory”—which combines rose, jasmine and carnation—embodies the bouquet of flowers Venus is smelling.

According to a statement from the Academia del Perfume, other featured fragrances incorporate an amber-scented leather glove, orange blossoms, jasmine, roses, lilies, daffodils, civet (a perfume component designed from the secretions of a carnivorous cat) and nard (an oil derived from a flowering plant).

“Our olfactory memory is stronger than our visible or auditory memory: the memory of our mother’s perfume, of our initial kiss, of our very first vehicle, or of the initial working day at faculty with the odor of new pencils and paints,” Sola tells the Guardian’s Sam Jones. “We all have our individual olfactory memory and the concept of this exhibition is that Jan Brueghel’s painting will depart its own memorable olfactory print on all of us.”

Museum people can odor the different fragrances by touching a image of the painting on 4 electronic screens dotted throughout a gallery. A diffuser that takes advantage of distinctive AirParfum technologies established by Puig then emits the fragrance. The intention of the technological know-how, which has been installed in retail suppliers in the course of Europe, is to let people to odor quite a few distinct perfumes without the need of oversaturating their noses.

Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, The Sense of Sight​​​​​​​, 1617

Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, The Perception of Sight, 1617

Public domain by way of Wikimedia Commons

The Feeling of Smell is aspect of the artists’ The Five Senses collection, which also consists of The Sense of Touch, The Perception of Style, The Perception of Hearing and The Sense of Sight. Brueghel painted the scenes for the pieces, although Rubens painted the allegorical figures. The 5 works are all on check out in the similar place at the Prado.

For every the Academia del Fragrance assertion, the series was probably commissioned by Albert VII of Austria and Isabella Clara Eugenia, Archduchess of Austria and the daughter of Philip II of Spain. Brueghel labored as a court painter for the pair.

“I had a perception that individuals do not spend ample consideration to Brueghel,” Vergara tells Artnet’s Dorian Batycka. “His consideration to detail, frequently miniaturistic, exhibits a eager sensitivity to the five senses. All that I was definitely trying to do was call notice to the sense of pleasure that these performs make in me, hoping that other individuals will see—and smell—this as properly.”

“The Essence of a Portray: An Olfactory Exhibition” is on see at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain, through July 3.