citycard gent walking map 'Missing: van eyck' - Visit Gent

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citycard gent walking map 'Missing: van eyck' - Visit Gent

The Mystic Lamband its adventuresTHE IMPROBABLEADVENTURES OF ANART-HISTORICALMASTERPIECE…… on the map“It’s a miracle thatthe Mystic Lambstill exists”Canon of St Bavo’s CathedralLudo Collin, who knows the historyof the Mystic Lamb like no other.THE RETABLE CLOSEDThis accurate realism also givesthe work a high documentaryvalue. As a spectator, you canalmost walk through a windowonto Kortedagsteeg in Ghent.The greeting that Mary seemsto utter in reply to the greetingby archangel Gabriel is upsidedown, not to mislead foreignspies, but to make Mary’swords legible to God.the RETABLe OPENAccording to scientists,the position of thesinging angels’ mouthssuggests they are singingin parts.The angel’s sapphireOne of the singing angels is wearing abeautifully decorated cope with a veryunusual piece of jewellery. The pearl broochis adorned with a blue sapphire. In thatsapphire you can see the reflection ofthe Gothic window facing it. This allowsresearchers to very precisely pinpointwhere exactly the altarpiece should beplaced in the chapel.In fact, everything waspainted in such a way that it seems to catchlight directly from that window.For a long time it was thought that the fruitin Eve’s hand was an apple (the ‘forbiddenfruit’ in Genesis 3:6). In 1512 Michelangelo wasconvinced it was a fig. Research has now shownthat it is in fact a nearly extinct citrus fruit,‘Pomum Adami’.FOLLOW EVERY STEP OF THE LIVE RESTORATION!“To me the Mystic Lambis the most beautifulpainting in the world”Bart Devolder, a successful restorer,who couldn’t possibly refuse thisassignment.BerlinIf there were a Guinness Book of Records for artworks,‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ would top quite a fewrankings.Not only is it considered by experts as one of the ten main artworks ever created,it is also one of the most coveted.It was stolen, given away and sold. Sawed, hidden, falsified, censured and amputated.Moreover, it was nearly blown up and miraculously survived a major fire.But in the end it always returned to the place where it belongs: St Bavo’s Cathedralin Ghent. Except for one panel, the ‘Just Judges’. If you happen to spot it anywhereduring your visit to Ghent, let us know asap!“The Mystic Lamb iswithout a doubt theworld’s most besiegedand coveted artwork.In Paris it would easilyknock the Mona Lisa offthe throne.”Noah Charney, art historian© Urska CharneyLondonPauCENSUREParisHUBERT & JAN VAN EYCKOIL PAINTING VIRTUOSOSGhent-based aristocrats Joos Vijd and his wife Elisabeth Borluutcommissioned the grand masterpiece. Vijd was a confidant of Philip the Good,five-time alderman of Ghent, and even first alderman between 1433 and 1434,a position comparable to that of the Mayor today.Vijd co-financed the construction of the Church of St John the Baptist – nowknown as St Bavo’s Cathedral – and commissioned Ghent-born painter HubertVan Eyck to create an altarpiece. Unfortunately Hubert passed away before hecould finish the ambitious masterpiece. Four years after his death his brotherJan finalised the painting.(This last part has not been proven. Because of Emperor Charles Vwe don’t know exactly who painted (which part of)the Mystic Lamb.… THROUGH TIMEGhentItalyAltausseeVijd and his wife can be seen on theouter panels of the altarpiece.The portraits are hyper realistic and(as a result) anything but flattering.Vijds veiny face is covered with severalfat spots and the man clearly didn’tshave properly.Emperor Charles V had thearchives of the painters’guild destroyed in 1539,as part of his attempts tosuppress the uprising of theGhent population. Possibly athird brother and a sister ofthe Van Eycksalso helped finalise thepolyptych!).Dear reader,on 10 April 1934 the panelabove, the ‘Just Judges’,was stolen. Presumably byArsène Goedertier.To date the mystery has notbeen solved.Keen to find out more?Then have a look overleaf.The ‘wallpaper’ behind the HolyMary even features… entirelyillegible letters from an unknownalphabet. A doodle? A secret code?A heretic spell?D.U.A.THE LAMB WITH FOUR EARSAfter the great fire of 1822, the part of thepainting depicting the lamb had to be repainted.The ‘new’ lamb is bigger (and bulkier) than theoriginal one behind – or beneath – it. However,the ears of the original lamb can still be seensticking out.A MASTERPIECE FROM THE STARTThe cliché that artists are only recognised for their work post-mortemdoes not hold true for the Van Eyck brothers.According to the quatrain on the polyptych Joos Vijd commissionedthe work from ‘the greatest painter ever’ and it was finalised on 6 May1432 by Jan, who was ‘the second best in the art of painting’.The polyptych was alsoimmediately recognisedas a glorious masterpiece.The skylineclearly showsthe three towersof Ghent.© The Bridgeman Art LibraryAn international specialist team will spend five years carefully restoring all the panelsof the Mystic Lamb. Among these specialists is Flemish restorer Bart Devolder, wholeft for the United States aged 23 and spent the last nine years there forging a successfulcareer in record time. He therefore thought his destiny was to remain in the Statesforever. Until the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage contacted him last year,asking him whether he would like to join their team for the restoration of the MysticLamb.The altarpiece is being restored in a specially developed – sound- and bulletproof!– glass cage at the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), .Retouching is done with a fine brush which only has a few hairs. A black glove isworn to avoid any possible reflection.Who wasJan Van Eyck?° Maaseik (?), ca. 1390† Bruges, 9 July 1441• the main representative of the Flemish Primitives• ‘Father of oil painting’• a self-conscious, learned and famous individual• a so-called ‘insider’, a confidant of Philip the Good, entrustedwith very delicate and secret diplomatic missions• sometimes signed his frames with his motto “Als ich can”(“[I do] as I can”)• in 2005 he ranked at number 27 in the Flemish version of‘De Grootste Belg’ (‘The Greatest Belgian’)And take a closer look at the walls in thecage – they were painted ‘neutral grey’, theonly shade that has no influence whatsoeveron the colours of the canvas.An interesting fact: the copy of the‘Just Judges’ was also restored bythe Royal Institute for CulturalHeritage in 2010. That 60-year-oldpanel was in worse condition thanthe original 600-year-old painting!A LAYER OF VARNISHIt’s a miracle the painting still exists.Moreover, considering its many adventures,it is still in relatively good condition.The main reason why it is beingrestored is that it has been covered inmany, often old layers of varnish thathave yellowed and cracked, posing athreat to the original layer of paint, ratherthan protecting it. The old varnish is being removed, releasing the original coloursonce again. For the first time in six centuries the painting will be displayed exactly asthe Van Eyck brothers intended it to be.The treatment: 3 phases spread over a 5-year periodPhase 1: the outer panels • Start: October 2012 • End: April 2014Phase 2: the upper register • Start: April 2014 • End: October 2015Phase 3: the lower register • Start: October 2015 • End: April 2017Conclusion of project: October 2017CityCard GentThe CityCard Gent gives you access to all the main monuments, museums andtop attractions in Ghent. Moreover, it entitles you to free public transport onall buses and trams, and it includes a free boat trip.Follow the restoration of the Mystic Lamb with the CityCard, the affordableall-in pass that provides free access to the Cathedral, the Museum of FineArts (MSK), the Ghent City Museum (STAM) and the Carmelite Friary.You can buy your CityCard Gent for € 25 or € 30 at the Ghent Tourist Office atVeerleplein, right across from the Castle of the Counts. It guarantees 48 or 72hours of fun in the city. Don’t forget that children have free access to virtuallyevery location!Walking map ‘Missing: Van Eyck’The walking map ‘Missing: Van Eyck’ takes you to the main Ghent hotspots inthe theft of the ‘Just Judges’ panel, the greatest art theft of the 20th century.You can buy the guide at the Ghent bookshops.The Mystic Lamb was unveiled during the baptism of Philip theGood’s son. It is possible that Philip the Good himself servedas a model for one of the Just Judges.(this is very uncertain. Countless people have been identifiedas models for the characters depicted on the ‘Just Judges’ andthe ‘Knights of Christ’ panels.)143215001438 presentation of the Mystic Lamb with‘live statues’ .Copy for Philip II.1557The masterpiece managed to escapethe first Iconoclasm unscathed asit had been hidden in the tower ofSt Bavo’s Cathedral.15661578In 1578, at the onset of the Calvinist Republic in Ghent, the Calvinistsmoved the retable to the House of the Aldermen (the Town Hall) themselves.It is said that the ‘rebels’ wanted to donate it to William of Orangeand the magistrate is said to have tried to sell it to Elizabeth of England.In any case, the masterpiece did not fall into foreign hands, not becauseWilliam of Orange changed his mind, but because Joos Triest, Lordof Lovendegem and a descendant of the Vijd-Borluut family, stepped in.160017001640In 1816 the side panels were sold toBrussels antiquarian Nieuwenhuis by thechapter headed by vicar Le Surre.Nieuwenhuis later sold them to BerlinbasedEnglish antiquarian Solly,who sold them to Frederick WilliamIII of Prussia to be displayed at themuseum he built in Berlin.1794French revolutionaries took possession of theMystic Lamb. Strangely enough they only took themiddle panels with them to France. Two decadeslater the French made an offer to purchase the sidepanels, to no avail. The panels were returned afterthe fall of Napoleon.18161800Adam and Eve were soldto the Belgian Senate in1861 and were displayedat the Museum of FineArts in Brussels. Thatsame year Belgian artistVictor Lagye made a copyof the two panels depictingAdam and Eve wearingbearskin, ‘adapted togood taste and manners’.It is still displayedat the cathedral.18221815The middle panelsreturned to Ghent,but not for long.1861CENSURECENSUURIn 1894 the side panels were sawed inhalf for an exhibition in Berlin.189419001914In consultation with the Belgian governmentCanon Van den Gheyn brought theremaining panels to safety in the houses ofa few trusted persons (at Patershol forexample). The German invaders looked forthe Mystic Lamb, but couldn’t find it. Van denGheyn showed them a letter from the Belgiangovernment declaring that the Mystic Lambwas transferred to London for safekeeping atthe beginning of the war.Two panels were stolenfrom St Bavo’s Cathedral.One of them was returned,while the other is still missing.19201934D.U.A.CENSUUR19401932Large celebration inGhent to mark the500th anniversary.The panels displayed at the Berlinmuseum were returned to Belgium aspart of the German compensationpayment. Finally all the panelsof the Mystic Lamb were backhome where they belong.But not for long.The Germans were back once again. Their plan was to take the work to the Vatican, butbecause of the alliance between Italy and Germany – which dates back to before 1940 – theVatican feared for its safety, and rightly so. Therefore the panels were transferred to the castlein Pau in the Pyrenees in four vans. Moving the panels to France proved to be an equallywrong decision, because in the end the collaborating government handed the MysticLamb to Hitler anyway. The wooden cases containing one of the main artworks in the historyof mankind ended up in… an Austrian salt mine.CENSUURNovember 19451945When defeat became inevitable, Hitlerissued the ‘Nero Decree’: anythingthat could prove useful to the allies hadto be destroyed. An overzealous officerdecided to blow up the salt mine witheight 500-kg bombs, but failed: onlythe access point to the tunnels collapsed.The Mystic Lamb was safe. A littletoo safe even, because it took a great dealof effort to recover the altarpiece from itsunderground shelter.2000Upon its return to thecity, the Mystic Lambwas welcomed withgreat enthusiasm bythe inhabitants ofGhent, with a ceremonialguard of honourand waving flags. GhentFestivities in Novemberas it were.Restoration ofthe Mystic Lamb.2012-17


TRST BAVO’SCATHEDRALmapLocation ofthe Mystic Lamb1 Vijd ChapelThis is where the Mystic Lamb wasdisplayed from 1432 to 1986. Since 1986the chapel hosts a life-sized photographicreproduction.2 Villa chapelThis is where the Mystic Lamb has beenon display since 1986. The stolen panel,the ‘Just Judges’, has been replaced by apainted reproduction.Places that have been searched in the quest forthe ‘Just Judges’3 The Viglius van Aytta Chapel4 The mausoleum of bishop Triest5 PULPIT6 crypt1376248910ST BAVO’SCATHEDRALENTRANCEA few art treasures5 PULPIT BY L. Delvaux7 ’St Bavo enters the Convent at Ghent’ by Peter Paul Rubens4 8 9 10 11 12 Mausoleums of the bishops of GhentLocations mentioned in the investigation into the theft13 Kapittelstraat14 Sint-Baafsplein side doorCOBRAYou can follow the 5-year restoration of the Mystic Lamb on cobra.be, thewebsite of the Flemish public broadcasting corporation dedicated to culture.A discrete camera records all the key moments. The images will form thebasis for an in-depth documentary.111251431TRACES OF THE MYSTIC LAMBLEIEWATERSPORTBAANLEIEKANAAL GENT-OOSTENDEThe mysterious disappearance of the panels continues to tickle people’simagination. Many places in the city are somehow connected to thelost panel…1 ST BAVO’S CATHEDRALThe Vijd Chapel, 10 April 1934, around 11.15 p.m.Three women walk past the cathedral and see a faint light shining from theVijd Chapel.Kapittelstraat, 11 April 1934, an hour or an hour and a half past midnight.Another passer-by sees two suspicious people in the shadows of the cathedral.One of them is carrying a long object resembling a board from the church into a car.Whether this story is true is unclear, as the witness is a thief himself.Sint-Baafsplein, 11 April 1934, 5.30 a.m.A churchgoer attending the early mass finds the door next to the main entranceopen. A bit later the church staff ascertains the disappearance of two panels ofthe altarpiece.Throughout the years every corner of the cathedral has been thoroughly searched.The chance that the panel is in the cathedral is almost nil..2 THE BISHOP’S PALACEThis is where the bishop of Ghent receives 13 lettersblackmailing him. Although the diocese is preparedto pay the ransom and the money is available, the courtrefuses to allow the transaction.“Oscar Van Bouchaute,beadle of St Bavo’sCathedral, shows the framewhich used to hold themissing Just Judges panel”3 THE FORMER NATIONAL BANKOn 24 April 1934 Arsène Goedertier, the main suspect,withdraws money from his account at the Ghentbranch of the National Bank. That same day he usesthe money to rent a typewriter from an office suppliesshop at Vlaanderenstraat.4 VLAANDERENSTRAAT 66A man rents the typewriter used to type the blackmailletters sent to the bishop. An attentive salespersonlater identifies the stranger as Arsène Goedertier,an exchange broker from Wetteren, a small townnear Ghent.5 THE CASTLE OF GERALD THE DEVILIn 1935 the newspaper ‘De Standaard’ publishes an article that states that thepanel is located at “a public building a stone’s throw from the cathedral”.Investigators thoroughly search the Castle of Gerald the Devil, to no avail.COUPURETRAM 4!COUPURELIEVE8LEIELEIE1KETELVAARTLEIE71462354SCHELDESCHELDEZUIDLEIETRAM 4LEIED O C K S U DSCHELDESCHELDEFIVE CRUCIAL YEARSIn the next five crucial years the story of the Mystic Lamb will berecounted at four different locations: St Bavo’s Cathedral, the Museumof Fine Arts, the Carmelite Friary and the Ghent City Museum (STAM).As such, it will be present more than ever in the city.1 THE CARMELITE FRIARYThis restored friary of the Calced Carmelites from 1329 is hosting three exhibitionsabout the Mystic Lamb. Every exhibition is focusing on the masterpiece from aunique perspective. Both its past and its (possible) future are thoroughly highlighted.You can also follow the restoration at the Museum of Fine Arts by webcam.Tuesday to Sunday, including public holidays: 10 a.m. till 5 p.mExhibition on the Mystic Lamb at the Carmelite Friary: € 2Combi ticket St Bavo’s Cathedral – Carmelite Friary: € 4 (can only be purchased at thecathedral).2 THE GHENT CITY MUSEUM (STAM)The Ghent City Museum (STAM) takes you on a journey through time. You’ll discoverwhat made and still makes Ghent so unique.One of the museum halls is entirely dedicated to the search for the missing panel,the ‘Just Judges’.3 THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS (MSK)Never before were old masterpieces so perfectly in their element as today, at theentirely renovated Museum of Fine Arts.Here you can watch the restorers live at work. The panels that are not being workedon, are displayed as close as possible to the glass.Museum opening hoursTuesday to Sunday, including public holidays: 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.Closed on Mondays, 24, 25 and 31 December, and 1 JanuaryPricesSTAM € 6MSK € 5Reduced rate (groups of 15 persons minimum / persons aged 55+): STAM € 4.5 MSK € 3.7519-26 years: € 1Free: guides of persons with disabilities / persons younger than 19.4 ST BAVO’S CATHEDRALEven now that the Mystic Lamb is (partially) being restored off-site, a visit to StBavo’s Cathedral is a must. No other location houses as many art treasures as thiscathedral, which boasts no less than 22 altars, mausoleums, a rococo pulpit made ofmarble and oak, and ‘The Adoration of St Bavo’ by Peter Paul Rubens, to name justa few.‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ opening hours01/04 > 31/10: 01/11 > 31/03:Monday to Saturday - 9.30 a.m. till 4.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday - 10.30 a.m. till 3.30 p.m.Sundays and public holidays - 1 p.m. till 4.30 p.m. Sundays and public holidays - 1 p.m. till 3.30 p.m.PricesAdults: € 4 (incl. audio guide – Dutch, French, English, German, Japanese, Spanish and Italian)Groups (min. 15 persons): € 3 (audio guide € 1)Children (7 > 12 years): € 1.50 (audio guide € 1)Accessible for wheelchair usersCombi ticket St Bavo’s Cathedral – Carmelite Friary: € 4 (can only be purchased at thecathedral).SCHELDEL‘ESCAUTSCHELDEVISIT GENTInquiry deskSint-Veerleplein 5 – 9000 GentT. +32 9 266 56 60www.visitgent.be – visit@gent.be@visitgentOpen:9.30 > 16.30 (15/10 > 14/03)9.30 > 18.30 (15/03 > 14/10)Publisher: Annelies Storms, alderman for Culture, Tourism and Festivities.Stadhuis, Botermarkt 1, 9000 Gent.Follow visitgent on:6 SINT-JANSVEST CAR PARK(large gate between houses number 32/38 and 40)A theory by a Brussels-based amateur detective leads investigators to this car parkin 2008. A thorough search proves unfruitful.7 VAN EYCK RESIDENCE, CORNER OF KOESTRAAT AND VOGELMARKTA Flemish writer announces he has found a code that once broken leads to thestolen panel in this residence. Fiction or reality? Unfortunately the ‘Just Judges’ isnot found here.8 RESIDENCE AT KOMIJNSTRAAT 1Experts of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage search this house in1978. It was once inhabited by relatives of Arsène Goedertier, the main suspect.Once again, the panel is not found.9 OUR LADY OF ST PETER’S CHURCHIn 1935 the newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reveals that Arsène Goedertier, themain suspect, was given the keys to this church by the sacristan. The judiciarypolice decide to follow this lead, but once again to no avail.10 SINT-PIETERSSTATIONRAILWAY STATIONOn 10 October 1934 a stranger leaves atypewriter at the railway station’s baggagestorage. Two months after ArsèneGoedertier’s death the typewriter used to typethe blackmail letters is found. It was usedfor years at the police station, that was notequipped with a typewriter!LEIETRAM 1TRAM 4102TRAM 1LEIE39SCHELDE100 BILLION PIXELSNothing beats the original, but from now on you can admire a veryspecial copy of the masterpiece online. Every square centimetre ofthe Ghent altarpiece was photographed in extremely high resolutionand subsequently merged into one image you can virtually‘step into’. Your admiration for the extremely detailed work of theVan Eyck brothers is set to increase even further. And once you’veexamined every hair and every crack from close-by, you can alsohave a look at the infrared images and X-rays.No need to take photos for yourself. Go to thewebsites ‘Closer to Van Eyck, Rediscovering theGhent Altarpiece’ and LUKAS Art in Flanders,and get ready to be astonished!SCHELDETHE BOLD THEFTWednesday 11 April 1934 was ablack day in the history of theMystic Lamb. That day, twopanels of the masterpiece weremysteriously stolen.Indeed, two panels – front and back ofthe ‘Just Judges’ – because EmperorWilliam II had ordered the panel besawed in half to display both sides separately.Yet the investigators kept talkingabout the theft of one panel.Three weeks after the facts the bishopreceived an envelope containing atyped letter signed D.U.A. This letter wasthe first to acknowledge there were two panels.To prove the authenticity of his claims,the author of the letter would return one panel. He demanded a ransom of onemillion Belgian francs (€ 25,000) for the second one, an enormous amount atthat time.In all, the diocese received 13 letters, the last one almost six months after the theft.Two months later Arsène Goedertier, an exchange broker from Dendermonde,passed away. In one of his desk drawers investigators found copies of all the letters.Whether Goedertier acted alone or whether he was commissioned by ‘powerful menwho enjoyed protection’ remains unclear to this day.SCHEL

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