In the fall of 2023, M will present an extensive overview exhibition on Dieric Bouts. Never before have so many works by the Flemish master been brought together in his hometown. Moreover, you get a totally new perspective on work from more than five centuries old – through a radical confrontation with today’s visual culture.
Dieric Bouts (ca. 1410-1475), who might be mentioned in the same breath as Jan Van Eyck or Rogier Van der Weyden, is one of the most important Flemish Masters. The painter spent most of his life in Leuven which is also where he painted his best panels of rich scenes, powerful portraits and otherworldly landscapes. Bouts was even given the honorary title of painter of the city in 1472. At that time, Leuven was undergoing enormous urban renewal and was experiencing glory days with its new university – the ideal context for Bouts to develop as a Renaissance artist.
The concept of this exhibition is definitely radical: we are not allowed to look at Bouts as an artist. The image we have today of the artiste peintre did not exist in the fifteenth century. Dieric Bouts was not a romantic genius or brilliant inventor, he was an image-maker. He painted what was expected of him and excelled at it, just think about master pieces such as ‘The Last Supper’ and The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus. That is why it makes sense to confront him with today’s image-makers of sports photographers, filmmakers and game developers. M places them side-by-side with the old master.
We follow that that line to Leuven’s Saint Peter’s Church which is the place that Bouts painted his The Last Supper for. For this occasion, the masterpiece will be moved to M and in the church, M will bring an in-situ presentation by American conceptual artist, writer and filmmaker Jill Magid.