CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Stephan Kemperdick

Art in Situ: The Ghent Altarpiece
Stephan Kemperdick, Curator of Early Netherlandish and Early German Painting, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin


The famous large polyptych by the brothers Van Eyck has left its original location, returned to it, and left it again more often than any other work of art from the historic Netherlands. In this process, the appearance of the retable was changed several times, and at one point, it even existed in two semi-original versions, one of which occupied the chapel in St. Bavo in Ghent in which it had been first installed in 1432. When it left this chapel the first time, it not only lost its original religious function, while others gained more importance. The perception of the work and its individual parts likewise underwent changes in that process.

About Stephan Kemperdick

Stephan Kemperdick studied fine arts at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf 1983-87 and art history at the Free University Berlin. He graduated in 1992, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1996. He was assistant curator at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt and researcher at the Gemäldegalerie Berlin. In 2005 he became curator of old masters at the Kunstmuseum Basel and since 2008 he is curator of early Netherlandish and early German paintings at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.