Journal of Urban Culture Research

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This article aims to study one of the most popular themes in 17th-Century Dutch genre paintings - the five senses - in its forms and religious interpretations. Firstly, while two means of representation were used to clearly illustrate the subject, some genre scenes could also be read on a subtle level; this effectively means that such five senses images can be interpreted somewhere between clarity and ambiguity. Secondly, three distinct religious meanings were identified in these genre paintings. Vanity was associated with the theme because the pursuit of pleasure is futile, while sin was believed to be committed via sensory organs. As for the Parable of the Prodigal Son, party scenes alluding to the five senses can be read as relating to the episode of the son having spent all his fortune.



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