When the Belgian public welfare was reorganized during the French republican period, the estates and artistic heritage of hospitals, almshouses, orphanages, beguinages and foundations were merged. For centuries, the chapels of these institutions received gifts such as paintings, sculptures, and liturgical gold- and silverware, forming the core of the Brussels Welfare Collection. The archives related to these institutions and therefore to the chapels and gifts were also preserved.
The collection comprises ca. 100 paintings form the Flemish school before 1750 including highlights like the Altarpiece of the Beguinage Infirmary by Bernard van Orley (1521) and the Brussels carved altarpiece of the St-John Hospital (ca. 1500), as well as works by Joos de Momper and Gaspar de Crayer. A small selection of the main items is on display in the administrative offices, while most of the significant works of art can be found in the online KIK-IRPA database BALaT.
David Guilardian, Curator (December 2022)