The Mauritshuis Launches Virtual See-and-Smell Exhibit

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Users can smell the 17th century artwork through the fragrance box. Photo: Mauritshuis.

The Mauritshuis Museum is offering its exhibition, Smell the Art: Fleeting–Scents in Colour, at-home though an interactive digital look and smell tour of 17th century art.

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In partnership with sponsor NN Group, the art museum has developed a fragrance box which allows users to tour the museum from home while smelling the artwork.

The fragrance box contains four scent pumps which allows users to smell the four scents at the same time that they appear in the tour. The 30-minute digital tour is accessed via a QR code.

The scent pumps are so-called dry air scenters, which last for a long time. The scents were produced by IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) and are partly based on 17th-century formulas.

The scents include:

  • Winter perfume: resins, musk, civet, clove, lavender, cypress, orris root and ambergris, as well as a dried gum-tragacanth, dissolved in aquavit and rose water.

  • Foul-smelling canal: toilets and sewers, offal, fish waste, rotting vegetables, horse manure, discarded hay and poisonous residues from polluting industries such as the tanneries and textile production.

  • Grocer's shop: a blend of clove, nutmeg and mace.

  • Dutch bleach fields: linen, lactic acid, powdered cobalt, grass and textile

The exhibition has been extended until August 29, 2021. 

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