Leon De Smet, Louise, 1916, MSK Gent

For the first time since 2017, the entire museum building is once again a playground for our own collection. In the completely renewed presentation, we showcase it in all its diversity, spread over no less than 40 galleries. Visitors will discover new themes, monographic galleries and dozens of never-before-exhibited works in a route that promises to excite and surprise.

continue reading

Art in all its forms
MSK is of course known for important works of art from the 14th to the 20th century, with crowd favourites such as Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Paul Rubens, James Ensor, Emile Claus or René Magritte. But much of the wealth is hidden behind the scenes. In the renovated museum, this diversity finally comes to the fore: from sculptures and art on paper to preliminary studies and studio material.
Religious objects complement medieval art, design sketches and materials focus on the creative process and reveal the hand of the painter and the sculptor. Some paintings are placed freely in the room, so that it’s possible to admire their painted backs for the first time. We confront progressive with conservative artists, while art magazines bring the modern 1920s to life. 

© Martin Corlazzoli
© Martin Corlazzoli

New themes and stories
From now on, the works of art enter into a more intense dialogue with each other and with the visitor. The chronological path is also regularly interrupted by new thematic galleries. These invite the visitor to reflect across the centuries: on the image of women in 250 years of art, for example, or on poverty and wealth, the relationship between city and countryside, or how people immortalised themselves and their loved ones in a portrait.

Man in his everyday existence runs like a thread through these thematic galleries. In this way, the museum reveals how each work of art contains many stories: those of the artist who made it, of the world in which it was created, but also those that the viewer reads into it. The questions that people have tried to answer through art were not that different in the past from today. And when we look at their creations, we cannot help but add our own stories to theirs.

New ensembles
Numerous new ensembles also bring new perspectives on the Ghent collection. Through drawings, graphic art and other media, we delve into the careers of James Ensor, Odilon Redon and Félicien Rops, and important artists such as Jean Brusselmans, Raoul De Keyser, Constant Permeke and Frans Masereel are finally given the space they deserve, alongside strongholds such as George Minne and Théo Van Rysselberghe. 

Temporary loans also enhance the story that is being told throughout the 40 galleries. To this end, we’re collaborating with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, the Municipal Museums of Bruges, the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museum of Art and History in Brussels, the Design Museum, STAM, the GUM-Gents University Museum and the Ghent University Library, the Municipal Museums of Kortrijk and The Phoebus Foundation.

Gallery E: a new gateway for the public
Finally, the visitor also literally gets more space in the museum. Gallery E, a space for expression, emotion, education and experimentation, opens in the middle of the route. The room opens with ‘Young at heart!’, a creative presentation for children, families and all those with a creative heart. We invite visitors to be creative, to write their own label texts, or to think up stories behind the works. You can find more details about this presentation on the Gallery E-webpage.