The Bruges Print Room is currently housed in the offices of Musea Brugge and can be visited by appointment only. In the future, the Print Room, together with the museum library, will be part of the planned BRON Research Center.
The Bruges Print Room (previously known as the Steinmetz Print Room) was based on a donation to the city of Bruges in 1864 by the British collector John Steinmetz, who moved to Bruges after his marriage. He built up a varied collection of at least 14,000 prints and some 1,000 Old Master drawings from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, including masterpieces by artists including Frans Floris (I), Maerten de Vos, and Govert Flinck. This nucleus has been expanded by subsequent donations, bequests, and purchases to form a collection of about 23,000 works on paper, which is still growing today. Neoclassicism is well represented in the Print Room – as it is in Bruges Museums’ painting collection – with hundreds of drawings by internationally-renowned artists from Bruges, such as Joseph-Benoît Suvée, Joseph Ducq, and Joseph Denis Odevaere. A major acquisition – in 2014 – is the collection of the Bruges dealer and collector Guy van Hoorbeke. This consists of over 2,400 prints and a number of drawings from the sixteenth century to the present day, including works by Pieter Bruegel (I), Félicien Rops, and Pierre Alechinsky. Remarkable smaller acquisitions in recent years include rare fifteenth-century works on paper, such as a late fifteenth-century drawing with the coat of arms of Maximilian of Austria, in 2020, and an engraving depicting St. Paul by Master FVB in 2014, further enriching Bruges Museums’ impressive art collection from the Burgundian Netherlands. Since 2022, the Print Room manages the drawing collection of the Jean van Caloen Foundation. It is a collection of more than 2,000 drawings with masterpieces by Stradanus, Jordaens and Boucher. The highlight of the collection is Michelangelo’s drawing of the Stoning of St. Stephen, which is the only drawing of the celebrated Italian Renaissance artist currently held in Belgium.
Evelien de Wilde, Curator of Prints and Drawings (November 2022)