Skip to main content
Sight (Portrait of Robert van den Hoecke)
Gonzales Coques

This is one of five paintings intended to hang together, each of which denotes one of the five senses – a common theme for painting in the Low Countries in the seventeenth century. In each painting Gonzales Coques has used a traditional activity to represent the relevant sense. This is Sight, depicted as a painter holding up his palette and a picture of what seems to be a camp and some figures in a landscape.

Each sense is also a real portrait. This is Robert van den Hoecke (1622–1668), a painter and engraver who worked in Antwerp and Brussels. He became Contrôleur des Fortifications in Flanders – the plan on the table, the baldric (belt hung over the shoulder) and the sword presumably refer to this office. He has been identified by an inscription on an engraving of the portrait published in 1661.

Key facts
Artist Gonzales Coques
Artist dates 1614/18 - 1684
Full title Sight (Portrait of Robert van den Hoecke)
Group The Five Senses
Date made before 1661
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 25.2 x 19.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1882
Inventory number NG1114
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

The Five Senses


This is a series of five small pictures which represent the senses: taste, touch, hearing, smell and sight. Many paintings on this theme were made in the Low Countries in the seventeenth century, and Gonzales Coques painted the series more than once.

A man engaged in a relevant activity represents each sense – Hearing, for example, is a musician. The figures appear to be portraits and, while we can't now identify them all, it may be that each picture shows an artist. All those that have been identified depict contemporary painters or sculptors – the figure of Sight is a portrait of Robert van den Hoeke (1622–1668), a painter who worked in Antwerp.

The pictures appear to have been designed to hang in a particular way. Two men face to the right, two to the left; one – Touch – sits facing the viewer, and was presumably intended to be hung as the central image flanked by the others.