May 2010 Archives

Restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece

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In 1996, I took a graduate course called Art Museum Education in Belgium, wherein my mentor took a group of students to Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and a short day trip to Amsterdam over the course of 10 days. We visited The Musee des Beax Arts, saw the Royal Palace, The Groeninge Museum, The Church of Our Lady in Bruges (which has one of the few Michelangelo scultpures outside of Italy), The Rijksmuseum (where I saw The Nightwatch but nary a Vermeer, as they were all in The Hague for an exhibition), the Van Gogh Museum, the Royal Museum of Central African Art in Tervuren, among others.

We walked through open air produce markets, ate gaufre de Liege (aka waffles!), browsed outdoor print markets where the old women in scarves served escargot by the ladle full out of huge pots of steaming water, and visited more cathedrals than I could have imagined existed. But one of my fondest memories was seeing Jan Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece in the Cathedral of St. Bavo.  Imagine my delight this morning when I saw that it is going to undergo careful, thoughtful restoration, with help from the Getty Foundation. I'm excited to see what will come of the project.  Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/arts/design/05getty.html

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