The Flemish Primitives in Bruges

After the participants of the European conference have learned more about the theme ‘Food for Generations’ and enjoyed the Belgian delicacies, it is now time to take a stroll and immerse themselves in Belgian and especially Flemish art history. It is an absolute must for them to get to know the Flemish Primitives.

The Flemish Primitives were a group of Flemish painters from the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries who were active around flourishing cities, such as Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. They acquired world fame during Bruges’ Golden Age in the 15th century. Important representatives of this art movement are Jan Van Eyck, Hans Memling and Rogier Van der Weyden. Some of their work can be observed at the Groeninge Museum, Saint John’s Hospital, Saint Saviour’s Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady. 

The vivid, refined and detailed painting technique which is applied to depict the visible world in a naturalistic way is one of the main characteristics of the Flemish Primitives. Although the representatives of this art movement primarily aim to reflect everyday scenes, their works often contain a deeper message (symbolism). A final characteristic of these artists is their perfect mastery of the play between light and shadow, which was very innovative for this time period.

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Bart Philips
Team Communications

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