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Earlier today Anne and I went to the Abdij van Park, a former monastery near Leuven, to see their current exhibition, "Van de Wereld: Beelden van Beslotenheid en Bevrjding" which they translate as "(Un)worldly. Images of Seclusion and Liberation". It's a small but quite powerful exhibition with some fascinating images of monasticism and mysticism. Just a couple of pieces that really struck me:



This is the only signed work by Jan Mandijn, clearly a follower of Hieronymus Bosch (who would have been at least a generation older), showing the Temptation of St Anthony, painted around 1550. Normally it's in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem up north in the Netherlands, so it's nice to have it locally. I am a Bosch fan anyway, but it's fascinating to see another painter picking up the same themes and taking them in a slightly different direction.



This is St Catherine of Siena, drinking the blood of Christ as part of her mystical experiences (the right panel shows her fainting, which is not terribly surprising). Very strange but also fascinating.

There are some very silly plaster Child Jesuses.

As well as lots of medieval and early modern paintings, sculptures and books, there are some contemporary artisis on display. We were pretty impressed by Mario De Brabandere's images of the monastic life, quite enjoyed Marlene Dumas' paintings, but were frankly puzzled by the two pieces by Ann Veronica Janssens.

Anyway, the exhibition continues to the end of February; as the Michelin guides used to say, worth a detour if you are in this part of the world.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
eglantine_br
Jan. 15th, 2018 04:01 am (UTC)
I love the unlikely baby Jesus genre... So many look like balding old men, you would think these painters had never seen an actual baby before.

Also, poor St Anthony, to be taken on by a Bosch fanboy!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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