Bruges and the Triptychs!


No, it’s not the name of the latest Boy Band! The annual get-together with our friends from Denmark took place in Bruges, the beautiful town in Belgium famous for chocolates, beer of a high alcohol content, and frites ….. which they even have a museum for!
Dr C and I had visited Bruges many times but this was a first for Henry and Susanne so we dutifully toured all of the standard tourist sights including a canal boat ride which is an excellent way to see the inner city, as well as visiting a couple of museums housing paintings by Flemish Masters from the 15th Century. However, we were on a mission to see one “dubious” painting in particular.
We began at the Sint-Janshospitaal which now houses the Memling Museum, a place where there are more Hans Memling  pieces than anywhere else in the world. The building is an old medieval hospital founded in the 1100s where you can see medical instruments and a well preserved apothecary. 
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Probably the most famous painting here though is Memling’s St John Altarpiece, a fine example of a triptych occupying centre stage in the museum. Like many other works of art from this period, it is the fine detail that eventually captures you and this altarpiece is no exception. You can explore such detail here Hans Memling Complete Works
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Our next stop was the Groeningemuseum, a municipal museum on the original site of the medieval Eekhout Abbey. It houses a comprehensive collection of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painting, from Jan Van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaaers. We came to see TWO, Van Eyck’s The Madonna with Canon van der Paele and a disputed painting by Hieronymus Bosch, The Last Judgement!

Here’s a few from the collections ……. but …..

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But ….. the Hieronymous Bosch attributed painting was NOT there! Sh1t! We were not amused, as Queen Vic would have said, but it appeared that a worldwide “tour” of El Bosco’s paintings was now at the Madrid stage with many of his paintings brought together for the first time at The Prado. So, gnashing our teeth, we booked a holiday in Madrid and witnessed an exhibition of such wonder that it still sends a shiver up my spine. Here’s our description of the Madrid, Prado, El Bosco experience ….. In Search of El Bosco.

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