[Art trip to Gent part II – Part I: See earlier post.]

Our next stop was the MSK but as that was a last minute addition I’ll keep that post for the last.

The last exhibition on our list was ‘Sensations’ at the Dr. Guislain museum. The museum is located in an old mental asylum and the works of the exhibition were scattered among the fixed collection, so it was part artworks and part the history of psychiatry. I’m very interested in these old institutes and the ways the patients were treated (treatment being a euphemism for abuse and torture and cruel experiments) and the criteria for being considered not quite right in the head in those days. It’s not for the fainthearted. The items in the exhibitions were limited and were by contemporary artists, including Borremans and one of my personal favourites, Thierry De Cordier, but also by old ones like (technically perfect but boring kitschy) Bouguereau, for instance. I do like the museum, though, and they didn’t lock me up, which is a good thing.

Here are some pictures (with my phone, so not great quality), most of them from the fixed collection:

Artwork from the exhibition
Painting by W Bouguereau, part of the exhibition
A room of the asylum. It looked strangely familiar.
One of the wards
The Psychotron II, a machine for electro shock therapy. At first I thought it was a cynical work of art.
Straight jackets
Shackles
The Malleus Maleficarum and an exorcism book

In a dark corner of the attic there was an engraving of a 19th century painting by Emile Wauters of Hugo van der Goes. Hugo was a Burgundian painter, a Flemish primitive. It looks like there aren’t many original artworks of him left, I assume a good number of them are actually copies. In any case, he did work for the Bold and others but I haven’t looked closely at his work or his history so far.

Here is the painting from the Wikipedia site:

And the information panel of the engraving:

All very interesting. After checking some websites I came across an interesting – but newer – link of my town with the Red Cloister. In 1635 they made an altar for the local gothic church. Here is a picture I took in November with what I assume is said altar.

Interestingly there may be another, more personal link, with the cloister from that time, but I’ll have to find/dig up old documentation for that.

Part III next: the MSK