Information from the museum, 29 June 2016
With prestigious loans from the National Gallery London, the Prado Museum and the Louvre among others, the exhibition Blood & Tears. Albrecht Bouts and the Image of the Passion brings together for the first time exceptional works from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Organized in collaboration with the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage in Brussels (IRPA), the exhibition first opens at the National Museum of History and Art Luxembourg October 2016 – 12 February 2017) before being presented at the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen (8 March 2017 – 11 June 2017).
Albrecht Bouts (1451/55-1549) is the son of Dirk Bouts (ca. 1415-1475), a renowned Early Netherlandish painter with a pan-European reputation. He takes over his father’s workshop in 1475 and runs it until his death in 1549. Albrecht specializes in portraits of Christ, the Holy Virgin and Saint John the Baptist for contemplation. This movement, known as Devotio Moderna, encourages the faithful to pray in private in front of devotional images to stimulate empathy. In order to satisfy a growing demand for such images, Albrecht Bout’s workshop expands into a large enterprise, producing paintings in great number. While some are based on famous prototypes by Dirk Bouts, Albrecht creates a number of successful new compositions.
For the first time, the most prestigious devotional paintings by Dirk and Albrecht Bouts and their workshop are presented together with works by great contemporary Southern Netherlandish masters such as Hans Memling, Colyn de Coter and Simon Marmion. A wide range of sculptures that echo the iconography of the paintings, a recently discovered Self Portrait by Albrecht Bouts (Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu), as well as Saint Joseph Venerating the Holy Virgin that has never been on public display, enrich the visitor’s experience. The MNHA’s important devotional diptych of a Christ Crowned with Thorns and a Mater Dolorosa, holds a prominent position among the works of the exhibition.