Almanach, The Fortune Teller, or Allegory of the Five Senses, c. 1730, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, European Art Acquisition Fund

From the Collection: The Fortune Teller

May 3, 2018

There is no biographical information concerning a painter known as "Almanach," who was probably Flemish by birth but active in Slovenia in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Almanach is recorded as both a portrait painter and a painter of genre subjects. Here, the blind fortune teller on the left is using rats to predict the future, a practice common at street fairs. He represents the senses of sight and touch, while taste, smell, and hearing are personified by the cherries, blossoms, and violin held by other figures. This allegory of the senses could also be construed as an allegory of the three ages of man (youth, maturity, and old age).

View this painting in the European art galleries, Ahmanson Building, Level 3.