Allegory of Sight (Venus and Cupid in a Picture Gallery)

Jan Brueghel the Younger, Flemish (active Antwerp), 1601 - 1678

Made in Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium), Europe

c. 1660

Oil on copper

22 7/8 x 35 5/16 inches (58.1 x 89.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 257, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 656

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Jan Brueghel the Younger, the oldest son of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625), worked in a similar painting style to his father and followed his father’s practice, which included depicting art galleries of both existing and imaginary collections. This allegory of sight, likely one in a series of the five senses, shows how art collections were assembled to reflect both the wealth and the learning of their owners. Venus examines herself in a mirror, surrounded by a lavish array of the man-made and natural objects that filled princely studios.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.