LGBTQ+ and the collection | MSK Gent
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LGBTQ+ and the MSK collection

book in advance
guided tour
Maarten van Heemskerck, 'Man of Sorrows', 1532, MSK Ghent
Maarten van Heemskerck, 'Man of Sorrows', 1532, MSK Ghent

Back in 2022, the MSK was the first museum in Belgium to launch an LGBTQ+ tour in its permanent galleries. Through 11 works of art, we reflect on the queer history that literally hangs on the walls but has never been told. We see how gender identity and sexual orientation have been approached in the past, and reflect on how we look at them today.

New perspectives

Scenes of the goddess Artemis and her female companions, the transformation of Hermaphroditus, or the oldest MSK portrait of 'a man in a relationship with another man': these are some of the stops on the brand new tour. We invite visitors to discover these hidden stories and to engage in a conversation about the themes that are addressed.

Created by members of the LGBTQ+ community, the tour is a safe space that respects everyone's experience. It will also continue to evolve as we look at the Ghent collection with different eyes. For schools, the tour can also be an original way to discuss these themes with the class.

Audio guide

Seven artworks from the LGBTQ+ tour were also included in the general audio guide to the collection. This way, even those who can't join a guided tour can hear a piece of LGBTQ+ history. The audio guide can be requested for free at the front desk.

The following works are included in the audio guide: 

  • François-Joseph Navez, 'The Nymph Salmacis and Hermaphrodite', 1829 (gallery 19)
  • Cornelis De Vos, 'Family Portrait', ca. 1630 - ca. 1635 (gallery 7)
  • Maarten Van Heemskerck, 'The Man of Sorrows', 1532 (gallery 5)
  • Paul Delvaux, 'The Staircase', 1946 (location can change)
  • Auguste Levêque, 'The Fall of Sodom', ca. 1905 (location can change)
  • Master Arnt, 'The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian', 15th century (gallery 2)
  • Théo Van Rysselberghe, 'The Lecture by Emile Verhaeren', 1903 (gallery P)

Apart from the 7 LGBTQ+ stops, the audio guide also includes art historical information to the entire museum collection, contemporary voices of our youth crew, musical renditions of artworks and audio descriptions for the blind and visually impaired. There's also a separate audio guide for kids.