2016 marks the 5th centenary of the publication of English humanist Thomas More’s Utopia by the Leuven publisher Dirk Martens. It is the most influential book ever published in the university town. On the occasion of this anniversary, M is collaborating with KU Leuven to organise an ambitious exhibition about the representation of the world in the early 16th century. The exhibition will explore not only the intellectual and cultural context in which the book was written, but also the West’s particular fascination with distant, foreign lands. Representations of the Earthly Paradise and all forms of dream worlds will also be treated extensively. The early 16th century artistic and playful search for the ideal human form and the malleability of humanity will conclude the exhibition. Did the dream ever near fulfillment?
M is organizing this prestigious exhibition with masterpieces by leading Renaissance artists Quinten Metsys, Jan Gossaert, Hans Holbein, Albrecht Dürer and other contemporaries. Their paintings depict the boundless imaginings of an ideal world in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The masterpieces include unique paintings, miniatures and astronomical instruments, many of which will be exhibited in Flanders for the first time.