17th century Flemish and Dutch paintings

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Willem van de Passe after Crispijn de Passe I
Allegory of Smell
Engraving on paper : 225 X 166 mm
Signed by both artists
Circa 1620
London, British Museum
(Nr. 1868,0612.2105)

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Painting for Sale
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Anonymous painter from the Low Countries, 1st quarter 17th century
"Gustus, an Allegory of Taste"
About our painting
 
The man in our painting is proposing a small stick of sweet rock candy to a lady. Such a sticks were made of cane sugar, a new commodity that appeared in the Low Countries at the end of the 16th century. It replaced honey as a sweetening agent, first in medicine, but also rapidly in culinary use.
These batons of large semi-transparent crystals were grown slowly over a period of days on sticks or strings suspended in a warm sugar solution. They were flavoured with flower essences such as rose or violet. They would be either sucked or crunched. 
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