CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child in Bruges: context and reception

Symposium: 10 April 2010

Information from the organizers, 24 February 2010

Although Michelangelo’s Madonna with Child in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges is admired by approximately 1 million visitors each year, research into the history and the reception of this masterpiece is rare. Unlike many other of Michelangelo’s sculptures, the Madonna with Child in Bruges has not played a significant role in the recent literature on the great Renaissance master. Acquired by Jan de Moscron, an affluent merchant from Bruges, the Madonna can be dated to the years immediately before 1506 when she was shipped to Flanders. Apart from two of the Slaves for the tomb of Julius II which came to France in around 1550 (Paris, Louvre), the Madonna with Child is the only one of the artist’s sculptures to leave Italy during the his lifetime.

The Conference is jointly organized by the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence and the Department of Art History of the Radboud University in Nijmegen (The Netherlands), and will focus on different aspects of Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna. In the lectures questions of the genesis of Michelangelo’s sculpture, its acquisition as well as its devotional context in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges and the impression the image made on contemporary and younger artists in and outside the Netherlands will be addressed.



Dr. Michael W. Kwakkelstein, director (Dutch University Institute for Art History/University of Utrecht)

Morning sessions. Moderator: Prof. dr Volker Manuth


Dr. Bram de Klerck (Radboud University Nijmegen)
From Florence to Flanders: on the Origin and Early Wanderings of the Bruges Madonna


Prof. dr. Jos Koldeweij (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Business, Church and Art: the Mouscron Family of Bruges


Dr. Joost Keizer (Columbia University, New York)
Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna and Religious Sculpture circa 1500


Sophie Goldhagen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Michelangelo and Primaticcio: a Christ Child and a Putto


Lunch break

Afternoon sessions. Moderator: Dr. Bram de Klerck


Myrthe Huijts (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Visiting Bruges: Michelangelo’s Madonna in Travel Accounts and Guidebooks, 1500-2000 (in collaboration with Surya Stemerding)


Jennik van der Varst (Radboud University Nijmegen)
The Reception of Michelangelo’s Madonna in Bruges: Variations, Copies and the History of a Mould (in collaboration with Anna Koldeweij)




Prof. dr. Paul Joannides (Cambridge University)
The Reception of the Bruges Madonna in Italy


Prof. dr. Volker Manuth (Radboud University Nijmegen)
The Reception of the Bruges Madonna in Northern Renaissance and Baroque Painting





This symposium would not have been possible without the generous support of Mrs drs. Christina van Marle.

For further information and registration: