The Five Senses.
Theodoor Rombouts is one of the earliest and most important representatives of Caravaggism in the Southern Netherlands. In style and subject matter, he drew mostly from Bartolomeo Manfredi, the most influential figure in the imitation of Caravaggio. Romboutss oeuvre is characterised by exceptionally monumental genre scenes in a horizontal format. His drinkers, card players and musicians single figures or groups are painted with strong chiaroscuro contrasts against a neutral dark background. In The Five Senses, Rombouts departs from pure Caravaggism. The scene is set in the open air. The varied colour palette, great sense of movement and subtle light and dark gradations testify to the influence of the Rubensian aesthetic, while the lively expression, the convincing rendition of textures, the still life and the Manfredian inspiration refer to the Caravaggesque background of Rombouts. This life-size painting of an animated company of men as an allegory of the five senses is unique in Caravaggist painting.
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