CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Crazy about Dymphna

21 May - 28 November 2022

Crazy about Dymphna

Exhibition: 21 May - 28 November 2022

The St Dymphna altarpiece was painted around 1505 by Goossen Van der Weyden, a grandson of the renowned Rogier Van der Weyden. This brilliant example of the early Dutch painting tradition, with its peculiar pictorial program, used to be part of the permanent exhibition of the Antwerp Royal Museum of Fine Arts. The seven painted panels of the altarpiece depict the tragic life and sufferings of the virgin martyr Dymphna. The work was commissioned for the Tongerlo (nowadays in Belgium) Abbey near the town of Geel. The Irish princess Dymphna died a martyr’s death in Geel and she has been revered in the region since the Middle Ages as a healer of mental afflictions.

Goossen Van der Weyden (1455–1543), Scenes from the Life of Saint Dymphna: the Flight to Antwerp, ca.1505
The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp

The display presenting the story, meaning and recently completed conservation work of the altarpiece is coming to Estonia in cooperation with The Phoebus Foundation, which is one of the most significant and abundant private art collections in Belgium. The conservators of The Phoebus Foundation spent three years conserving the panels, in cooperation with Belgian and international experts. The conservation was accompanied by thorough technical research, which provided new insights into the meaning, origins and creation process of the altarpiece.

Curators: Katharina Van Cauteren (The Phoebus Foundation)
Coordinator: Merike Kurisoo (Art Museum of Estonia), Niels Schalley (The Phoebus Foundation)