The "Banquet in the House of Nicolaas Rockox" shows the Great Parlour, where Rockox displayed the highlights of his art collection. Together with the inventory of effects taken when Rockox died it constitutes an important source of information about his collection. The gallery paintings of Frans Francken cannot always be interpreted literally as they rarely represent an accurate record of reality, being intended primarily to convey an idea of their owner's passion for collecting. The only painting that was definitely to be seen in the location in which Francken painted it is Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens. From the inventory of Rockox's estate it can be deduced that some of the other works of art depicted here in the Great Parlour in fact hung in other rooms.
Francken's gallery paintings also convey moralistic messages. During the 18th century it was pointed out that this painting contains representations of the five senses. The sense of taste is illustrated by the dining party. A number of people warming themselves at the fire stand for feeling, while on the right-hand side a gentleman is looking into a mirror, representing sight. The lute-player stands for hearing and the seated lady holding a flower to her nose for the sense of smell
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Frans Francken, the Younger
Banquet in the House of Nicolaas Rockox, c. 1630/35
Oil on panel
height 62,3 cm, width 96,4 cm
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Inv.-No. 858
Further works on display
Collector's Gallery
The Continence of Scipio, 1621
Related themes
Samson and Delilah. A Rubens painting returns
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