The Flemish Primitives
The paintings made in the Southern Low Countries during the 15th and early 16th centuries are a particular high point in the history of art. The period saw the rise of a group of artists referred to as the ‘Flemish Primitives’. This group of painters such as Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Dirk Bouts and Jan van Eyck lived and worked in various flourishing cities like Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Leuven, and Brussels. Thanks to their mastery of the new medium of oil paint and their eye for detail, they propelled the art of painting to never before seen levels and changed the course of art history forever. It was a time when commissions not only came from the various courts and religious institutions, but also from cities and their citizenry. For the first time, the painter enjoyed a prominent position in society.
Up to this day we are proud of this incomparable artistic heritage. You can admire the legacy of the Flemish Primitives in numerous museums all over Flanders. The most important ones are the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Antwerp and Brussels and the Groeningemuseum in Bruges. Aside from those also the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, Museum M, Mayer van den Bergh and the museum Saint John’s Hospital have a range of works by the Flemish Primitives.