When we go to a museum in order to watch an exhibition of figurative painting, we would hardly think that any of the paintings on display could make us exercise a sense additional to that of sight. It is our imagination that becomes the only way to approach the smells, sounds and other sensations that surround the scenes we see.
However, if we go to the Museo del Prado in Madrid during these days and until next July 3, we will have the opportunity to discover a fascinating fact; and is that the painting “The Sense of Smell”, which is part of “The five senses”, the allegories painted between 1617 and 1618 by Jan Brueghel and Peter Paul Rubens in the Netherlands, in addition to showing its magnificent visual composition in which a wide variety of exotic flowers, plants and animals prevail, lets notice the smells of some of the objects in the representation.
This is possible thanks to the exhibition “The essence of a painting. An olfactory exhibition” which is located in room 83 of the Villanueva building of the museum, and has as main responsible for its creation Alejandro Vergara, head of the Flemish painting conservation area of the museum, and Gregorio Solá, senior perfumer of the Puig group, a multinational Spanish company operating in the fashion and perfumes sector.
In this exhibition you can perceive, thanks to diffusing devices installed next to the work, 10 fragrances created by Solá from an arduous research that began by identifying the flowers, plants and animals represented in the picture; and then studying ancient formulas in treaties of the eighteenth century in order to give the most faithful olfactory sensation possible to the pictorial work.
Without a doubt, it is an exceptional occasion to appreciate in all its splendour this masterpiece of Flemish painting recently restored by María Antonieta López Asiaín, and rediscover the Museo del Prado’s Flamenco art collection.
Art for the Hungry.
Text: Guillermo Gonzalez Rivas.
Image: Museo del Prado.
HōRNō _ Online Art Gallery.