The thematic websites of the Flemish Art Collection (VKC) bring together art and research from different Flemish museums. Each site delves deeper into the history and the work of one artist or art movement. At the same time, the sites bring together the most important sources for the art history researcher. In this way the museums not only share their own knowledge and collections, but also stimulate further study of the various themes.

The Flemish primitives

Painting of the 15th and early 16th Century in the Southern Low Countries is a brilliant high point in the history of art. These painters are generally referred to as the "Flemish primitives". It is an artistic flourishing period that is distinguished by a highly-permeating refinement of oil painting and by an assiduousness to reproduce the visible world in as detailed manner as possible.

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Rogier van der Weyden, ‘The Virgin with the Carnation’, 15t…
Rogier van der Weyden, ‘The Virgin with the Carnation’, 15th century, MSK Ghent

Baroque

In the early 18th Century, the term "Baroque" describes the exuberance of a raw, irregularly formed pearl. From there, one used it to describe the ideological imagery, of which catered to the princely absolutism, the Counter-Reformation and bourgeois moralism. This imagery is seen in the painting and sculptural art, in the architecture, in music and literature. A strong pervading illusionism, stateliness and abundance needed to convince the viewer of an internal message.

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Gaspar de Crayer, ‘The Coronation of Saint Rosalia’, 1644, …
Gaspar de Crayer, ‘The Coronation of Saint Rosalia’, 1644, MSK Ghent

James Ensor

Although all three of these Belgian Modernist artists have an international reputation, the work of James Ensor is not as recognisable in the same way as that of Paul Delvaux or René Magritte. Ensor‘s work is indeed especially varied and since the advent of Post-Modernism, surprisingly topical again. Ensor is then also a genuine 'artist‘s artist‘.

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James Ensor, ‘Children at their Morning Toilet’, 1886, MSK …
James Ensor, ‘Children at their Morning Toilet’, 1886, MSK Ghent

George Minne

George Minne (1866-1941) is undoubtedly one of the most well-known symbolist sculptors in Europe. His modern spirituality fit in well with the attempts of the contemporary avant-garde towards what moved the soul. Many admirers in the time see in the stylised art of Minne also a revival of the Gothic.

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George Minne, ‘Fountain with Kneeling Youths’, 1898, MSK Gh…
George Minne, ‘Fountain with Kneeling Youths’, 1898, MSK Ghent

Abstract Modernism in Belgium?

This is the story of the pioneers of Abstract Art in the first half of the Twentieth Century up to the end of the 1970’s. In the spirit of a quest for the new, Modernism in art sees the light. This Modernism results in one of the most important developments in art since the Renaissance: Abstract Art.

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Gustave De Smet, 'The Good House’, 1926, MSK Ghent
Gustave De Smet, 'The Good House’, 1926, MSK Ghent