From February 1st until March 12th 2020, the MSK hosted the largest Jan van Eyck exhibition in history. During these weeks, nearly 130,000 visitors came closer to Van Eyck than was ever possible before, but unfortunately the COVID-19 crisis forced us to close the exhibition earlier.
Visit Flanders and the MSK joined forces with Belgian virtual reality company Poppr to develop a fully online 360° virtual tour of the exhibition. Walk straight into the largest Van Eyck exhibition ever, scroll through the 360° images and discover 13 museum rooms with over 120 masterpieces. The audio for adults or for children is your personal guide through the experience.
Visit Flanders filmed a guided visit with Till-Holger Borchert, Director of the Museums Bruges and one of the curators of the exhibition. Discover with him some of the masterpieces on display in Ghent. Watch the virtual tour below.
Worldwide, only approximately twenty works by Van Eyck have been preserved. Quite exceptionally, over half of these traveled to Ghent in 2020 for the exhibition ‘Van Eyck. An optical revolution’ at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK).
The centrepieces of the exhibition were the outer panels of ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’. These were restored in the MSK by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage between 2012 and 2016. In a highly exceptional loan they returned to the museum, where they have been united with other works by Van Eyck for the very first time. To contextualise the optical revolution he inspired, Van Eyck’s paintings were shown alongside works by his most talented peers.
In 2020, Ghent is honouring its great Flemish Master. During the theme year ‘OMG! Van Eyck was here’, the city will reveal how Van Eyck has left his mark on Ghent, six centuries on. We must not forget that the Ghent Altarpiece is so much more than a piece of world heritage. It is a living icon that continues to fascinate and inspire. Van Eyck’s legacy permeates the city and forms part of its DNA. Generation after generation, Van Eyck continues to inspire new masters, whose works we are proudly putting in the spotlight in 2020. Visual arts, theatre, dance, design, fashion, gastronomy, music and even shopping … For a whole year, everything in the city will bask in the glow of Van Eyck and his impressive masterpiece. Come to Ghent. Van Eyck was here. And will be here to stay. Will you?
Furthermore, later in 2020 a new visitors’ centre will open its doors at St Bavo’s Cathedral. A combination of original art treasures and modern presentation techniques will be used to highlight the story behind the centuries’ old polyptych made by the van Eyck brothers and the multiple messages conveyed by the ‘Ghent Altarpiece’.