Ghent Museum of Fine Arts, founded in 1798, is the oldest art museum in Belgium. The collection provides a multi-faceted overview of European art from the Middle Ages to the present day. The permanent exhibition includes over 600 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The nucleus of the collection originated from works belonging to the city’s churches and monasteries. It is a modest ensemble of paintings by seventeenth-century Flemish masters – such as Gaspar de Crayer, Frans I Francken, and Maarten De Vos – that has hardly changed over the years. Only from around 1900 was the Old Master collection significantly expanded, thanks to the support of the Friends of the Museum, a society founded in 1897. It was the Friends who made many of the most important acquisitions, in the first half of the twentieth century, as well as providing the most significant gifts and bequests. The works by Flemish and Dutch masters acquired by the Friends included paintings by Jerome Bosch, Gerard Horenbout, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony van Dyck, paintings that enhance the museum’s significance to this day.
Catherine Verleysen, Head of Collections and Research (February 2022)
Een curieuze collectie : Hollandse schilderkunst uit de zeventiende eeuw
Jos De Meyere, Johan De Smet, Catherine De Zegher, Valentine De Beir
Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent: catalogus schilderkunst
Johan De Smet, Bruno Fornari, Ruth Monteyne
200 Jaar verzamelen: collectieboek Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent
Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent