Approximately half of the M collection consists of prints – about 25,000 pieces in total. This ‘prints cabinet’ contains an enormous treasure of images and stories, dating from the Late Middle Ages until the present day. The only thing is that because prints are extremely fragile, they rarely see the light of day. But we’re about to change that.
What does a prints cabinet actually look like? It is difficult to summarize in a few words because it is so varied and diverse. The ‘cabinet’ at M contains masterpieces from the Northern and Southern Low Countries, France, England, and Germany. The collection spans the period from 1500 until the present day, with etchings, engravings, woodcuts, drawings, and collages by both unknown artists and more familiar names, such as Hiëronymus Cock, Constant Permeke, James Ensor and Constantin Meunier.
In the exhibition ‘Impressive!’, you will discover a selection of prints from the prints cabinet and the techniques with which they were created. But you will also learn about the work that our volunteers do behind the scenes. Because of course such an extensive and delicate collection requires the best care. The artworks are studied, they are given conservation and restauration treatments, and they preservation is constantly optimized. And to ensure that we can share our treasure trove of prints with as many people as possible, they are also digitalized. In this exhibition, you will see M’s team of volunteers live at work.
The prints you will discover during the exhibition depends on when you visit the museum. This is because works on paper are even more sensitive to light than other artworks. That is why all the objects in the exhibition will be changed every three months. Our volunteers will also help to choose which prints are shown in the exhibition rooms.