Flemish Masters

The Ghent Altarpiece / The Adoration of the Sacred Lamb (Angels singing) - Sint-Baafskathedraal- Gent - © www.lukasweb.be - Art in Flanders vzw
Flanders is fertile ground for art and heritage. This began long ago, when our Flemish Masters first influenced the art of painting. For a period spanning over 250 years, from the 15th century to far into the 17th, Flanders set the artistic tone in Western Europe. We inspired all the most important movements of the time, such as primitive art, Renaissance and Baroque.

Flanders’ impact is exemplified by luminaries such as Jan van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Peter Paul Rubens and their contemporaries. Their skill, creativity and innovations made Flanders one of the world’s most important regions for the arts. Many following generations of artists built on these foundations, modern master James Ensor for example.

This impressive artistic heritage is omnipresent in Flanders. As well as museums containing a wealth of masterpieces, there is art to be found in numerous churches and castles, town halls and abbeys, chapels, artists’ homes and many other places. Flanders is one enormous museum, as it were, courtesy of the Flemish Masters.

Self-portrait of Rubens  ©Rubenshuis Antwerpen collectiebeleid
Peter Paul Rubens, the most celebrated Flemish Master, was a master of Baroque painting. Learn about his life, work, and his masterpieces in Flanders.

Who are the Flemish Masters?

Ensor - Self portrait with flower hat ©Mu.ZEE, www.lukasweb.be – Art in Flanders, foto Hugo Maertens
James Ensor, a key figure in the history of modern art, was born and raised in Flanders. Discover his life and work in this article.
Detail Lam Gods (the Ghent Altarpiece) © Sint-Baafskathedraal Gent, www.lukasweb.be – Art in Flanders, foto KIK-IRPA_0
Jan van Eyck, the genius behind the Ghent Altarpiece, was a master of oil painting and realism. Discover his work and where to see his masterpieces in Flanders.
Bruegel
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish Master, painted realistic and detailed scenes of peasant life and landscapes. Learn more about his life and work.
Dieric Bouts
Dieric Bouts (approx. 1415 – 1475) is one of the great Flemish Primitives.

Bruegel, a citizen of Brussels in Antwerp

While Pieter Bruegel did live in Antwerp for a time, Brussels was his home. This is where he painted his most important works, had his children and breathed his last. The two cities are ideal places to explore his genius.

Rubens, citizen of Antwerp to the bone

You can’t say Rubens without saying Antwerp. This pioneer of Baroque is inextricably linked with the city. In his home city, an impressive collection of his works are available to admire at the Rubens House, Cathedral of Our Lady, Saint James’ Church and Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA).

Van Eyck: associated with Ghent, at home in Bruges

Van Eyck will forever be associated with Ghent thanks to his Ghent Altarpiece. This masterpiece is still on display in St. Bavo’s Cathedral to this day. Van Eyck also had a bond with Bruges, where he lived for the majority of his life. The city’s Groeningemuseum does homage to him, and Antwerp houses several of his paintings as well.

Ensor, all around Flanders by way of Ostend

James Ensor’s home was and always will be in Ostend. This Queen of seaside resorts contains the Ensor House and Mu.ZEE, which grant a glimpse into the artist’s life and work, while the world’s largest Ensor collection is housed at the KMSKA in Antwerp.

Dieric Bouts. World-class painter, at home in Leuven

Dieric Bouts, world-class painter and artistic icon of Leuven. You will find the oeuvre of this Flemish Primitive in the most important museums in the world, but only in Leuven is he eternally at home. You can follow in his footsteps in St Peter’s Church and M Leuven.

 

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