Together with the art of Italy, painting in the Burgundian Netherlands (today’s Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and northern France) led the way in the history of European art during the period of transition from the late Middle Ages to the early modern times. Like Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo and Raphael in the South, it was the Van Eyck brothers, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling or Joos van Cleve in the North who fundamentally influenced painting throughout Europe.
With more than fifty paintings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Suermondt Ludwig Museum in Aachen owns an impressive collection of Old Flemish and Old Dutch paintings, which has international significance. For the first time in the museum’s history, this unique collection, which has been accumulated over centuries by several generations of Aachen collectors – from Barthold Suermondt to Peter and Irene Ludwig – is now being highlighted in an exhibition and presented to local and international audiences.
The Suermondt Ludwig Museum is one of the institutions where research is tansformed into knowlegde: the latest results, which are the results of years of art-historical and painting-technological research carried out at the museum and in cooperation with numerous partners, are now vividly presented to a large audience. In particular, the findings on the creation process of individual paintings and on the division of labor in the painting workshops of Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Utrecht, Leyden, and Amsterdam shed new light on the realization of artistic ideas. It also allows to address the wishes and needs of the original patrons and owners of the paintings, which were mostly executed on wooden panels, but occasionally also on canvas. In some cases it is now possible for the first time to reconstruct the former function of individual paintings, which originally were part of larger picture ensembles or, as individual panels, were intended to enhance the spiritual qualities of private devotion.
In addition to masterpieces from the workshops of Hans Memling, Ambrosius Benson, Albrecht Bouts, and Joos van Cleve, as well as paintings from Flemish art centers such as Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent, the Suermondt Ludwig Museum also owns a large number of panel paintings originating from art centers in the northern Netherlands. There, the surviving stock of late medieval paintings is much smaller than in Flanders due to iconoclasm and the Reformation, and our collection in Aachen is or primordial importance for the history of Dutch painting. Paintings by, among others, Cornelis Engebrechtsz. and his pupil Lucas van Leyden, the anonymous Master of Delft and Jacob van Oostsanen, who worked in Amsterdam, complement the paintings of the Flemish masters and thus allow a comprehensive insight into the most diverse manifestations of painting between 1450 and 1550 in the entire Netherlands.
The exhibition is curated by Till-Holger Borchert, Sarvenaz Ayooghi and Ulrike Villwock.
For more information, please visit suermondt-ludwig-museum.de