Category: Expo

Art: The lamb and the ladies (Gent – MSK)

Part III of the Gent trip – Other parts: see earlier posts

As a last minute addition to the program, we visited the Ladies of the Baroque exhibition, as it was the final day of this temporary exhibition. We had only about an hour before the departure of our ride to its next destination so I was told there would be no time for the regular collection and the restoration of the van Eyck altarpiece. (major disappointment – It is not ‘See Naples and die’ it is ‘See the Lamb or die’).

According to the museum’s website it is not allowed to take pictures of temporary exhibitions so I didn’t take any. The paintings on display were by Italian female baroque painters (but there were a couple by men too), including the famous Artemisia Gentileschi, but also Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625), Fede Galizia (1578-1630), Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670), as well as Orsola Maddalena Caccia (1596-1676), Lavinia Fontana (1552-1614), Virginia da Vezzo (1601-1638) and Elisabetta Sirani (1638-1665). It was very crowded and the rooms were very small unfortunately. The selection was relatively small and the paintings were very baroque and carrivagesque, with lots of blood decipitated Holoferneses. I suppose that says a lot about the men in those days, lol. Unfortunately most of the paintings were also – ahm, I’m very sorry, ladies – rather mediocre, apart from Artemisia’s whose paintings stood out amongst the rest. I went to see Michaela Wautier’s baroque paintings at the MAS earlier this year, and admittedly these are from a somewhat later period, but they were so much better overall.

The visit of the ladies took less than expected which left half an hour for the rest of the museum which is a bit of a maze. I decided to concentrate on the Primitives and try to find van Eyck. I got lost at first among some rather strange neoclassicist paintings and bumped into a couple small but very beautiful paintings from a much earlier date. Note that the pictures are not very good as I quickly took them with my phone so I could look them up on the internet.

Portrait of a lady by Pieter Pourbus (1523-1584), small painting, much better in real also

Small portraits of Lieven Van Pottelsberghe and Livina Van Steelant by Gerard Horenbout, a miniature painter (1465-1541). In real the colours and the faces are amazing.

The medieval paintings ended up being in the rooms immediately on the right of the main hall so I found my way back there and encountered the – almost legendary – panels of the mystic lamb. On Sunday the panels undergoing restoration are displayed behind a window in a small dark corridor, so actually better than when they are working on them, I suppose. No pictures allowed so I’ll borrow a stock version of the middle panel from Wikipedia just for illustration purposes. The panels on display were the bottom parts, ie, the copy of the Judges, the knights, the lamb and the hermits and the other one on the right.

Bizarre to stand so close to the same painting that old Philip once stood before almost 600 years ago (I suppose he did in any case, the reports of the inauguration in 1432 are contradictory, not sure about the B, he was aahhmmm, fickle and not good friends with the Gent people, also he wasn’t born yet) .

In the adjoining rooms there are some other paintings from Burgundian times. There was not much time so I just picked a few to have a good look at. There is a Madonna by Rogier van der Weyden but I took no picture of it. Same for the copy of a Lamentation by Hugo van der Goes. Here is the image from Wikipedia.

The above is a very dramatic Man of Sorrows by an anonymous painter. The angels are a bit funny, not the intention of the artist, I guess.

There was also a small and long painting called Titus’ conquest of Jerusalem, attributed to the Viennese Master of Mary of Burgundy. Upon checking this is a miniature painter who supposedly also provided artwork for Charles the Bold’s prayer book from which I copied a miniature.

Left side of the painting, image from Wikipedia
Part of the right side, own picture.

And the last painting in the series was interesting for another reason. It is a painting, not in a very good condition, consisting of two small panels, called The Holy Trinity and Saints, dating from 1480-1490, and painted by an anonymous painter. Here they are, you’ll probably see why it struck me.

Everybody is looking away or down, except one guy on the right who seems to look straight at the spectator or at something else outside the small world of this painting, as if he’s looking through a window. It is somewhat eerie. I don’t know if it means something. Maybe it was an heretic, or maybe it is that one person that always spoils the group picture.

That’s all for now, folks.

Art: Raoul

On Sunday we went on an art school field trip to Ghent where we visited three different exhibitions. Keeping the short attention span of the general public in mind, including myself I’m afraid, I am going to distribute the events of the day over three posts.

Stop 1: The SMAK (museum of contemporary art)

The relation between the people of Ghent and the Dukes of Burgundy was always a difficult one, but I suppose they have calmed down now and suits of armour and cannons were not in order for this trip. Instead, I took e-versions of Burgundian history books with me to read on the bus.

Our first stop was the SMAK. The SMAK is a bit like the M: huge white spaces with not a lot in them. Last time I was there was for the Gerhard Richter exhibition. This time the featured artist was Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012). The best room was the first with the colourful semi-abstract paintings of everyday objects.

Gampelaere omgeving – 1967 (image from the museum’s site)

The other works were mostly abstract. Ensued a vivid discussion in our group about the meaning of art and the value of this particular artist. Some loved it, others thought it was rubbish, and the usual ‘toddlers can do better’ cliché was uttered (which is not always an invalid argument, lol). Somebody said you need to know the context and read the plaques but if one needs a plaque to appreciate a work of art, the purpose is lost, imho.

The next one is not by Raoul but by another artist in one of the rooms with the fixed collection. Venus of the anthropocene by Lynn Hershman Leeson. Not sure if this is a relative of Liam Neeson.

Bozar – Spanish still life

The past few weeks have mostly been filled with sorting and listing old stuff and assignment related work.  I have also been studying a couple books for the sequel to Lazarus, mostly about Babylon and Grail stuff. Last but not least I’ve set up a small side site with some random funny images I encounter here and there. No fixed posting schedule so expectations are low.

There is not a lot of WIP  – written or painted –  ready to be flung on the net right now (it never is, really).  Instead I offer you a short overview of an art echibition we visited last week, Spanish still life at the Bozar (Brussels).  I was mainly interested in seeing the Velazquez up close as I’m still working on the copy of the dead Jesus but that was a little disappointing. However, there were two large canvases by Antonio de Pereda which was great. I’ve been studying those exact paintings for the Baroque style still life I still have on my plate, pun intended. It was possible to look at the paintings from a very short distance so we set off the alarms quite a few times, he he.

So here are some pictures I took, with some random comments included. Enjoy.

Small painting of books by an anonymous painter.  The colours and the light were exquisite.

Left side of the Velazquez painting. A bit drab imho.

A cat that looked a lot like our own house tiger hiding in one of the still lifes.

Melon and dead birds, the ideal dinner companions.

Another dead bird, by Goya this time.

Look at the man’s nose.

And next details of two of the Pereda paintings:


The knight’s dream. The light on the knight was amazing.



No overview but some details of the other Vanitas painting by Pereda:

A highly detailed globe

My favourite bit of the entire collection: the reflection in the harness


And last but not least the picture stuck to the table cover:

That’s all for today, folks…



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