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Discover the collection

The MSK preserves about 20,000 works of art, an extensive library collection and its own archive. It's also a centre of expertise for the art of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Learn more about our collection work here. In the near future you'll also be able to consult a large part of the museum collection online.

Highlights from the collection

Jheronimus Bosch, 'Christ Carrying the Cross', c. 1510–1516, MSK Ghent
Jheronimus Bosch, 'Christ Carrying the Cross', c. 1510–1516, MSK Ghent
Victor Servranckx, 'Harbour – Opus 2', 1926, MSK Ghent
Victor Servranckx, 'Harbour – Opus 2', 1926, MSK Ghent
Rogier van der Weyden (circle of), 'The Virgin of the Carnation', c. 1480, MSK Ghent
Rogier van der Weyden (circle of), 'The Virgin of the Carnation', c. 1480, MSK Ghent
George Minne, 'Fountain with Kneeling Youths Youths', c. 1905 Basin, c. 1927–1930 (copy), MSK Ghent
George Minne, 'Fountain with Kneeling Youths Youths', c. 1905 Basin, c. 1927–1930 (copy), MSK Ghent
Anders Zorn, 'With Mother', 1895, MSK Ghent
Anders Zorn, 'With Mother', 1895, MSK Ghent
Gaspar de Crayer, 'The Coronation of Saint Rosalia', 1644, MSK Ghent
Gaspar de Crayer, 'The Coronation of Saint Rosalia', 1644, MSK Ghent
Gustave De Smet, 'The Good House', 1926, MSK Ghent
Gustave De Smet, 'The Good House', 1926, MSK Ghent
James Ensor, 'Children at their Morning Toilet', 1886, MSK Ghent - Collectie Vlaamse Gemeenschap
James Ensor, 'Children at their Morning Toilet', 1886, MSK Ghent
Alfred Stevens, 'Mary-Magdalene', 1887, MSK Ghent
Alfred Stevens, 'Mary-Magdalene', 1887, MSK Ghent
Anthony Van Dyck, 'Jupiter and Antiope', c. 1620, MSK Ghent
Anthony Van Dyck, 'Jupiter and Antiope', c. 1620, MSK Ghent
James Ensor, 'Old Lady with Masks', 1889, MSK Ghent
James Ensor, 'Old Lady with Masks', 1889, MSK Ghent
Henri Evenepoel, 'The Spaniard in Paris or Portrait of the Painter Francesco Iturrino', 1899, MSK Ghent
Henri Evenepoel, 'The Spaniard in Paris or Portrait of the Painter Francesco Iturrino', 1899, MSK Ghent
Theodoor Rombouts, 'Allegory of the Five Senses', 1632, MSK Ghent
Theodoor Rombouts, 'Allegory of the Five Senses', 1632, MSK Ghent © www.artinflanders.be, photo Cedric Verhelst
Torajiro Kojima, 'Woman Reading', MSK Ghent
Torajiro Kojima, 'Woman Reading', MSK Ghent
Eugène Laermans, 'Vollage Church, MSK Ghent - bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck
Eugène Laermans, 'Vollage Church, MSK Ghent - bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck
Gustave Van de Woestyne, 'Fugue', 1925, MSK Ghent
Gustave Van de Woestyne, 'Fugue', 1925, MSK Ghent
Théo Van Rysselberghe, 'Portrait of Marguerite Van Mons', 1886, MSK Ghent
Théo Van Rysselberghe, 'Portrait of Marguerite Van Mons', 1886, MSK Ghent
Jenny Montigny, 'The Gardener', 1913, MSK Ghent
Jenny Montigny, 'The Gardener', 1913, MSK Ghent
Cornelis De Vos, 'Family Portrait', c. 1630–1635, MSK Ghent
Cornelis De Vos, 'Family Portrait', c. 1630–1635, MSK Ghent
Valerius De Saedeleer, 'Farm in the Snow', 1907, MSK Ghent - bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck
Valerius De Saedeleer, 'Farm in the Snow', 1907, MSK Ghent - bequest of the heirs of Jozef and Fernand De Blieck
Jan Frans Verhas, 'The Master Painter', 1877, MSK Ghent
Jan Frans Verhas, 'The Master Painter', 1877, MSK Ghent
Leon De Smet, 'Interior or A Loving Couple', 1911, MSK Ghent
Leon De Smet, 'Interior or A Loving Couple', 1911, MSK Ghent

The MSK was officially founded in 1798, which makes us older than Belgium itself. Today, the museum preserves almost 20,000 works of European painting and sculpture, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Among them is also a very extensive collection of art on paper: drawings, graphic art, preliminary studies... Through a permanent collection presentation, changing temporary exhibitions and an extensive public programme, we make the collection accessible and use art to connect people.

Read more on the history and workings of the museum.

Like all museums, the MSK can only display a selection of its collection. Many pieces are safely stored in the depot, where they are of course accessible to researchers. The most important pieces are kept in secure and air-conditioned rooms within the museum building. In addition, the City of Ghent opened two extra heritage depots that are shared by the different city museums.

In the depot in the port there is room for 7,500m³ of objects. Mainly objects made of metal, glass and pottery are stored here, as these have less strict climate requirements. The depot under the stands of the Ghelamco sports arena is air-conditioned and offers space for 2,400m³ of objects. They house sensitive objects made of paper, wood, textile or plastic. In total, some 700 MSK works are housed here: pieces that are rarely or never exhibited.

The MSK exhibits works of art from the late Middle Ages onwards, but an important focus lies on (Belgian) art of the 19th and first half of the 20th century. This takes up about half of the museum galleries. Therefore, the museum plays an important role as a centre of expertise for the art of this period.

The publicly accessible research library plays an important part in this. The museum supports external researchers, hosts workshops and micro-teachings by Ghent University, organises lectures and supervises internships in art studies, curatorial studies, social and cultural studies, and communication. For each exhibition and acquisition, the MSK also conducts its own research. The results of this often find their way into museum publications. For instance, the catalogue for the exhibition Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution compiles important new findings on the Flemish Master and the catalogue accompanying Theodoor Rombouts is the first monographic work on this Baroque painter.

Finally, the MSK collaborated on the thematic websites of the Flemish Art Collection (VKC). These bring together research from various Flemish museums and make important sources accessible. On the website Museum dicht, collectie open ('museum closed, collection open', only available in Dutch) the VKC also collected a series of stories about works of art from the MSK collection.

The MSK does not collect contemporary works of art, but in the presentation of the collection, there is regularly room for interventions by contemporary artists. They take their inspiration from the historical collections and bring new perspectives to the museum. Occasionally, this leads to a permanent enrichment of the collection. In 2017, for instance, Luc Tuymans made the fresco 'The Arena', which is literally embedded in the museum walls. That same year, Patrick Van Caeckenbergh donated 'The cigar box' to the museum, a contemporary take on the early modern Wunderkammer, and in the entrance hall, the semi-permanent 'Written Room' by Parastou Forouhar invites visitors to think about language and identity.

Read more on 'The Arena'.
read more on 'The cigar box'.
Read more on 'Written Room'.

Library and documentation

In our specialised museum library, you will find reference works and periodicals, historical salon catalogues and precious publications. The library and documentation centre are accessible by appointment.

Torajiro Kojima, 'Woman Reading', MSK Ghent

Thematic websites

The thematic websites of the Flemish Art Collection (VKC) bring together art and research from various Flemish museums. Dive into the stories of the Flemish Primitives, the baroque, abstract modernism, James Ensor and George Minne.

Gaspar de Crayer, 'The Coronation of Saint Rosalia', 1644, MSK Ghent

Support the collection

Support the collection with a gift, bequest or donation