VISITFLANDERS Launches a “Stay at Home Museum” Concept

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Baudouin de Lannoy, c. 1435
© KIK-IRPA, Brussel

For many art aficionados, the closure of Ghent’s  ‘Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution’ was devastating. The acclaimed exhibition was almost half way through its duration and tickets to view the show were almost sold out. It was the first time that nearly half of Van Eyck’s existing works had been brought together and was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to behold.  However now, thanks to a new initiative by VISITFLANDERS, the works of Jan van Eyck will be made available to the world on a virtual platform, to offer a unique opportunity to admire Jan van Eyck, from the comfort of their own homes.

Jan van Eyck and workshop, The Madonna at the fountain, c. 1440
© Courtesy of the Frick Collection

Now, thanks to the wonders of technology, a special curated tour by the Optical Revolution exhibition co-curator Till-Holger Borchert , will take place on Wednesday 8 April at 18.00 (British Summer Time), via a live Facebook video feed. Fans of Van Eyck’s art will be treated to the wonders of this celebrated exhibition, followed by a live Q&A session with art expert (and co-curator) Frederica Van Dam, who  personally answer questions during the session.

The personal virtual tour at the MSK inaugurates a new ‘Stay at Home Museum’ concept. The idea is to take art lovers, during their confinement at home, on a series of museum tours in Flanders. In forthcoming weeks, in addition to Van Eyck, other Flemish masters, such as Bruegel, Rubens, Ensor will also be featured in a similar way on the same platforms.

Anonymous (Tournai), Tapestry with Scenes from the Passion of Christ : Christ Carrying the Cross , The Crucifixion and The Resurrection, c. 1445-1455
©KMKG, Brussels

“In light of the current situation, we can’t give the public, physical access to our cultural heritage but that doesn’t mean we can’t share our passion for it with the rest of the world”, Peter De Wilde, CEO of VISITFLANDERS, explains. “On the contrary, the ‘Stay at Home Museum’ concept will continue to unite people worldwide around their shared passion for our Flemish Masters. Art aficionados will be able to embark on a simultaneous, global virtual visit of our top museums. The introduction by the curator or museum director will guarantee a genuine “VIP” experience.” 

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of a Man with a Blue Chaperon, c. 1428−1430

The ‘Stay at Home Museum’ concept is part of VISITFLANDERS’ approach to tackling difficulties caused by the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus crisis.  Peter De Wilde commented further: “Our museums may be closed but our passion for the Flemish Masters burns undiminished.”

  • To register for the virtual tour, visit the Flemish Masters 2018-2020 Facebook page or link directly to the Facebook post.
  • A live tour will be available to view via the Flemish Masters 2018-2020 Facebook page at 18.00 (British Summer Time) on Tuesday 8 April 2020.
  • After the tour, visitors to the page can submit their questions to an exhibition curator in a Facebook Live Q&A session on Flemish Masters 2018 – 2020.
  • Those unable to join the live tour can view it afterwards on the VISITFLANDERS YouTube Channel. (Available online from Wednesday 9 April at 19.00 ( British Summer Time).

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Margareta van Eyck, 1439
© Musea Brugge, www.lukasweb.be – Art in Flanders, foto Hugo Maertens

Only some twenty works by Jan Van Eyck have been preserved, worldwide. For the first time ever, over half of Van Eyck’s works were brought together at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, have been on display, next to work from his most talented contemporaries.