CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Archief Gent


In 2017, Ghent Archives was created by a merger of the Ghent City Archives and the Archives of the Ghent Public Center for Social Welfare (OCMW), both established in the nineteenth century. The collection includes registers from the magistrates’ court, city accounts, photographs from the municipal committee for historic buildings and conservation areas, registers of foundlings, city charters, and family papers. Ghent Archives owns several objects that are officially classified as Flemish Masterpieces, such as the Map of Ghent and Environs (het Vrije van Gent) by Jacques Horenbault (1619) and the photograph album of Ghent in the First World War (het Kriegsalbum von Gent) from 1916.

The collection also contains some 3,400 architectural drawings from the period 1671–1795, which are among those listed as Flemish Masterpieces. These pen and ink drawings of façades and floor plans, many of which have a wash of diluted ink or watercolor, were made to accompany building permit applications. Besides their historical and documentary significance, the architectural drawings also possess artistic value since some were created by renowned architects. A case in point is a drawing of a façade by the Ghent architect Bernard de Wilde (1691–1772) for Hotel Falligan at Kouter Square.

Also included in this list is an album from 1592 by the master painter Arent van Wijnendale from Ghent. The album contains 40 pen and ink drawings, some of them hand colored, mainly depicting churches, monasteries, and tombs that were damaged or destroyed in the sixteenth century. They are unique visual records of Ghent historic buildings and monuments that have been lost, such as Saint Bavo’s Abbey.

The trades register of woodcutters and carpenters (1685–1772) is also included in this list of Flemish Masterpieces. It contains calligraphed and decorated lists of names of board members and new masters. A miniature of Joseph by Jan van Cleef (1646–1716), a leading Ghent artist, is included in the document.

Finally, the list includes thirty sixteenth-century drawings commissioned by the city council from Lieven van der Schelden (1586–1587). The watercolors depict scenes of city decorations for the Joyous Entry of Alexander Farnese into Ghent in 1584. The decorations include triumphal arches, theaters, tableaux vivants, and statues.

News about this institution