The Sense of Sight

Workshop of Abraham Janssens (Flemish, about 1575-1632)

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The woman depicted here is not an individual or historical character but a personification of Vision, one of the five senses. Clad in sumptuous robes and adorned with fine jewelry, Vision sits in a frontal position but peers over her shoulder to gaze into the mirror hanging behind her. The mirror doubles as a painting within the painting, implying a parallel that calls attention to the viewer’s own presence in front of this work. Like Vision, the viewer is engaged in the delightful process of looking.

(Ben Rifkin, Binghampton, New York); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1980.

Object Information

Workshop of Abraham Janssens (Flemish, about 1575-1632)
creation date
about 1630
oil on canvas
56 x 36 in. (unframed)
52-1/2 x 41-5/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Delavan Smith Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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