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  BRUGES: The Groeninge Museum


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Tourist Office
Burg 11
8000 Brugge

Tel. 050/44.86.86- fax 050/44.86.00



The Groeninge Museum is also called 'The city museum of Fine Arts'. The collection was already started in the beginning of the 18th century, but the building itself is recent and dates from 1929-1930. The name 'Groeninge' refers to the nearby 'Groeninge straat' (= Groeninge street), but also to the Groeninge fields in the city of Kortrijk (Courtrai) where in 1302 the army of the Flemish defeated the army of the French king. The collection in the museum spans several centuries (from the 14th to the 20th century) and focuses primarily on works by painters who lived and worked in Bruges.

(Jan van Eyck-1436 - Picture courtesy of the Stedelijke Musea Brugge)

A splendid and very valuable collection of Flemish masters is the pride of this museum. First of all, there are two works by Jan Van Eyck, the first and most important 'Flemish Primitive'. The museum's masterpiece is 'The Madonna with Canon Joris van der Paele', which Van Eyck painted in 1436. The rich detail of the clothes of the personae on this painting make it one of the true treasures of early Flemish medieval painting. A second work by Van Eyck is the portrait of his wife 'Margareta Van Eyck'.

Other medieval Flemish masters from the 15th century are represented here with some of their masterpieces: 'Death of the Holy Virgin' by Hugo van der Goes, 'The altar of Saint Christopher' by Hans Memling, 'The Justice of King Cambyses' and 'The baptism of Christ' by Gerard David. These are only the highlights of the entire collection which comprises also several anonymous Masters from Bruges.

Why 'Flemish primitives?

The name 'Flemish Primitives' refers to the painting school and the painting style of the Southern Netherlands (now Belgium) in the 15th century. The name was invented in the 19th century. The word 'Flemish' refers to the fact that the art center was situated in the Flemish cities of Bruges, Ghent and Ypres. However, a lot of the painters that belong to this school came from other parts of the Southern Netherlands. Jan van Eyck, the greatest of all, probably came from the town of Eyck in the county of Limburg, Rogier van der Weyden lived and worked in Brussels but came from the city of Tournai, Hans Memling was born in Seligenstadt, Germany. Since the court of the Dukes of Burgundy was situated in Bruges, this city became the center of the movement. Bruges was the main commercial and artistic center of the county of Flanders, and therefore the name 'Flemish' is used to cover the entire group of 15th century painters.
The word 'Primitives' does not mean that they painted in a primitive style. Any painting of Jan Van Eyck proves the contrary. If refers, however, to the fact that these painters were the first (= primus in Latin) to use new painting styles and techniques, which revolutionized art in the late Middle-Ages.

A second section is devoted to Renaissance and Baroque paintings from painters such as : Jan Provoost, Lanceloot Blondeel, Adriaan Isenbrant and Pieter Pourbus. Not all the paintings are from the Bruges area. From the Brabant and Antwerp region come : Jan van Hemesssen, Cornelis van Cleve, Adriaan Key, and works from the workshop of Pieter Bruegel and his sons. Jacob van Oost the elder represents the Baroque painting of Bruges in the 17th century, and Jan Antoon Garremijn, in his turn, represents the 18th century rococo style.

The 19th century is represented by a selection of works by Bruges artists who were influenced by the classicist style from the end of the 18th, beginning of the 19th century. (Joseph Suvée, Jozef Ducq, Jozef Odevaere and Albert Gregorius).

In 1985 the museum acquired the Herbert collection with a beautiful set of Flemish expressionist paintings from the school of Sint-Martens-Latem (Georges Minne, Albert Servaes, Gustave van de Woestijne, Constant Permeke, Gustave De Smet, Frits van den Berghe). Finally, the collection closes with representatives from the period after 1945 (the Cobra movement, Roger Raveel, Raoul de Keyser and Marcel Broodthaers).

Dijver 12
8000 Brugge

Admission hours:
Open every day from 9.30h till 17.00h
Closing day: monday (except Easter Monday and Whit Monday)
The museum is closed on the 1st of january, Ascension day (in the afternoon)
and the 25th of december.
Entrance charges:
individuals: 8 EUR
reductions: 5 EUR
(reductions= groups of minimum 15 persons, young people aged 13 to 26, and
senior citizens aged 60 and over)
Children under 13 years: free

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