Face to Face with Death

Face to Face with Death’ is the title of a new exhibition that features Hugo Van der Goes’ famous painting, The Death of the Virgin.

Over the past four years the painting has been extensively restored and is now the central focus of an exhibition opening today in Saint John’s Hospital in Brugge, Belgium, until February 5, 2023.

The Death of the Virgin is one of the most important works in Musea Brugge’s world famous collection of Flemish primitive art. The Museum’s website explains:

“By exploring six different themes, this exhibition will take a deeper look at ‘The Death of the Virgin’. Each theme will be developed with reference to other great masterpieces, some of which belong to the Musea Brugge collection, while others have been brought to Bruges from all over Europe. These works include paintings by Hans Memling, Jan Provoost and Albrecht Bouts, but sculptures, manuscripts and pieces of music will also be used to bring visitors face to face with death in its different forms. In total, more than seventy works of art will be displayed.”

It would be interesting to know if Rembrandt’s famous etching produced in 1639 and with the same title, The Death of the Virgin, is on display at the exhibition. The etching (shown below) is a tribute to Van der Goes and features several characters from many of his paintings. It could be said that the person dying in bed is not the Virgin Mary but Hugo Van der Goes!

I posted some details on Hugo’s painting some time ago, and also on Rembrandt’s etching at these links:

In a little corner with a little book
Seeing humility in a mirror

Rembrandt’s homage to Hugo
The art of homage
More on Rembrandt’s ‘turnaround’ etching
Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?