Until last year, only three of the five Senses were known to art historians. The exhibition will feature The Sense of Smell along with The Stone Operation (An Allegory of the Sense of Touch) and The Three Musicians (An Allegory of The Sense of Hearing). A fourth known picture from the set, The Spectacle Seller (An Allegory of The Sense of Sight), is in the collection of the Lakenhal Museum in Leiden. The whereabouts of the fifth sense, an allegory of taste, remains unknown.
In autumn 2015, The Sense of Smell surfaced at an auction in the United States. It has since entered the Leiden Collection, the private collection and gallery of Thomas S. Kaplan in New York that was already home to its sister pictures: The Sense of Hearing and The Sense of Touch. Recently, The Sense of Smell was on view at TEFAF Maastricht where it caused a stir and commanded a great deal of attention. Two other Rembrandts from the Leiden Collection, Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak (1632) and Portrait of a Rabbi (about 1640–45), among other Dutch seventeenth-century paintings, have been at the Getty Museum on long-term loan and will be shown in conjunction with the Senses.