This was Theodoor Rombouts, Virtuoso of Flemish Caravaggism | MSK Gent
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This was Theodoor Rombouts, Virtuoso of Flemish Caravaggism

20230120 MSK Opening TR c Martin Corlazzoli COR03445
Opening Theodoor Rombouts © Martin Corlazzoli

Many thousands of national and international visitors found their way to the MSK between 20 January and 23 April to learn about Theodoor Rombouts, the Flemish caravaggist who enjoyed great appreciation during his short life but then fell into oblivion. Until now!


The exhibition was officially opened on 20 January in the presence of alderman Sami Souguir, slam poet Loeke Vanhoutteghem and the Radio 1 programme Culture Club. Host Bent Van Looy spoke extensively with MSK director Manfred Sellink and head of collection Cathérine Verleysen about the MSK’s 225th anniversary and with curator Frederica Van Dam about Theodoor Rombouts. Listen to the broadcast (in Dutch).

What the press says

The national and international press discovered Rombouts with, among others, extensive reflections and reviews in La Tribune de l’Art, Apollo Magazine, De Tijd, NRC, The Art Newspaper, Knack, La Libre, De Standaard, VRT.nws and reports on AVS, RTBF/La première, Klara/Pompidou, and others.

“This exhibition succeeds in its aim of bringing a neglected painter of great accomplishment back to notice.” Apollo Magazine

Curator Frederica Van Dam on the exhibition

Curator Frederica Van Dam gave numerous lectures and tours about Rombouts, both inside and outside of the museum.

What the audience thought of it

"Coming to see it several times, each time my heartbeat quickened at the sight of so much beauty!"

"Mighty exhibition, beautiful arrangement, sublime lighting, lots of information."

"We enjoyed getting to know this virtuoso."

"Superb exhibition! A wonderful discovery! And always a perfect organization at MSK Gent!"

"It was super! Beautiful selection and nice achievement. Also the catalog is an added value."

"Fantastic spectacle for the eye ! Intriguing and overwhelming!"

"Handsome exhibit with engaging audio guide!"

"Awesome exhibit! Greetings from Montana, USA."

"Also, the catalog is a 'must' for those who want to learn more about the painter and caravaggism in our regions."

"A beautiful and engaging exhibition that has spotlighted a (wrongly) previously unknown master."

A side programme tailored to Theodoor

On the occasion of the exhibition, several events took place in dialogue with the recurring themes in the works of Rombouts.

In March, Jozef van Wissem and Colin H. Van Eeckhout (CHVE) gave a unique concert on lute and hurdy-gurdy at the foot of Rombouts' Allegory of the Second Bench of Aldermen of ‘Gedele’. In April, many visitors followed the card and backgammon players from Rombouts' genre scenes during a game night at the museum.