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Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck… la collection Brukenthal

Bruegel, Memling, Van Eyck... the Brukenthal collection Exhibition: 11 September 2009 - 11 January 2010

From the museum website, 17 June 2009

From 11 September 2009 to 11 January 2010, the Musée Jacquemart-André will be the temporary home of masterpieces from the Brukenthal Collection, one of the most prestigious in Central Europe, which was assembled during the XVIII century by Baron Samuel von Brukenthal. This exhibition brings together the masterpieces by the greatest masters of the Flemish school, including Van Eyck, Bruegel, Memling or Jordaens.

A major exhibition

Under the joint stewardship of Jan de Maere, a specialist in XVI- and XVII-century Flemish art, and Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot, a curator at the Musée Jacquemart-André, the first part of the exhibition is devoted to masters of the Flemish school, their works forming the richest and most prestigious part of the Brukenthal Collection. In the mid-XVIII century, Flemish art was much sought-after by art collectors in Europe, particularly in Vienna, and Samuel von Brukenthal was able to assemble a remarkable range of Flemish art from the XV to the XVII centuries. The exhibition will also display, alongside this Flemish collection, the main masterpieces from the other schools represented in the Brukenthal Collection, particularly works by Titian, Lorenzo Lotto and Johann Georg Hinz.

Whilst viewing these prestigious works, the visitor is invited to go on a chronological and thematic journey. Each room focuses on a specific art genre: the fascinating portraits by the Flemish primitives Hans Memling and Jan van Eyck, the striking landscapes by Pieter Bruegel the Older and Pieter Brueghel the Younger, the refinement and wealth of symbolism of Jan Davidsz de Heem’s still lifes, the powerful realism of genre scenes by David Teniers, the elegance of the mythological depictions and mysterious poetry of the chiaroscuro in the religious works by Jacob Jordaens.

Samuel von Brukenthal’s exceptional collection

Samuel von Brukenthal (1721-1803)

For many years, the Baron was a close adviser of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. After a long career in politics, in 1777 he was appointed governor of Transylvania, where he had been born in 1721. He quickly gained a reputation as an insatiable collector, acquiring, over just a few years, more than 16 000 valuable books, a huge number of objets d’art, almost 800 etchings and 1200 pictures. The collection, created with the assistance of art dealers and specialists, was expanded by the donation of some very fine works from the Empress herself. It quickly became regarded as one of the “finest and richest collections in Vienna”. Nowadays, the collection is known as one of the most prestigious in Central Europe.

The Brukenthal National Museum

Opened to the public in 1817, the Brukenthal National Museum was originally Baron Samuel von Brukenthal’s official residence. Built between 1778 and 1788, at Sibiu in Romania, the palace, then comprising an art gallery and a library, was home to the entire collection. During his lifetime, the Baron transformed the palace into a veritable museum, one of the first museums in Romania.

For the first time in its history, the Brukenthal National Museum is offering on loan an incomparable group of some fifty works of art. This exhibition is a genuine voyage of discovery and a unique opportunity to discover, at the Musée Jacquemart-André, the masterpieces in this collection. This important event is the fruit of a close collaboration between the Muzeul National Brukenthal, the Romanian Ministry of Culture, the Institut de France and Culturespaces.

The catalogue

For the Musée Jacquemart-André, this exhibition is also an opportunity to publish the first catalogue of the major works of art in the Brukenthal Collection.
This catalogue presents a huge number of full-page illustrations of the works on display, accompanied by commentaries written by Jan de Maere and Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot.