Image: Detail from Jan van Eyck, Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?), 1433


World premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Für Jan van Eyck to be performed by Collegium Vocale Gent under conductor Philippe Herreweghe on 22 September in front of live audiences at St. Bavo’s Cathedral, home of Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece

Museum of Fine Art Ghent (MSK) unveils spectacular state-of-the-art 20K, 3600 digital tour of largest ever exhibition of Jan van Eyck –

As the borders of Belgium re-open for travel to and from the European Union, the UK and the four additional Schengen countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway), the City of Ghent resumes its 2020 Year of Van Eyck celebrations with the world premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Für Jan van Eyck on 22 September at St. Bavo’s Cathedral, home of the world renowned Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck. Inspired by Van Eyck’s masterpiece, also known as Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Pärt’s new work is written for mixed choir and organ, based on the composer’s Agnus Dei from Berliner Messe (1990). Commissioned by the City of Ghent for the Flanders Festival, Für Van Eyck will be performed by the most renowned musical ensemble in all of Belgium, Collegium Vocale Gent under conductor Philippe Herreweghe, in a concert that marks the ensemble’s 50th anniversary.

This week, the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent (MSK) unveils a new, state-of-the-art 3600 digital tour of largest ever exhibition of Jan van Eyck that took place between 1 February and 12 March, when Belgium entered lockdown. At spectacular 20K resolution, the tour allows visitors to navigate at their own leisure through the museum’s 13 galleries, zoom into more than 120 works of art, accompanied by more than two hours audio and video commentaries in eight languages, in two version for adults and children. The tour is free of charge and will be available until the end of 2020.

Designed by Belgian virtual reality company Poppr, the virtual tour is a lasting legacy of the exhibition Van Eyck. An Optical Revolution. The unrepeatable exhibition displayed more than half of the known works by the Flemish painter, including the first showing of the newly restored outer panels of the Ghent Altarpiece, along with works from his studio, copies of lost works by the Master and more than 100 other masterpieces.

Between 1 February and 12 March, more than 130,000 visitors from 90 countries were able to visit the exhibition over the 41 days when the exhibition was open to the public – making it the most visited exhibition ever in the history of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) Ghent.  The unprecedented popularity of the exhibition corresponded to a 300% year-on-year growth of visitorship to St. Bavo’s Cathedral, home of Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece.

Erwin van de Wiel, Managing Director of Visit Ghent, said:

‘Museum of Fine Art Ghent’s exhibition of Van Eyck was the perfect testament to the transformative power of culture. The unprecedented success of the exhibition brought about a renaissance to our city that exceeded our wildest expectations.  As we carefully re-open the city post the COVID-19 crisis, with the launch of the virtual tour and the Arvo Pärt premiere, Ghent is again ready to welcome the world.’

The full Year of Van Eyck programme is available here: The exhibition Kleureyck: Van Eyck’s Colours in Design at Design Museum Gent has also re-opened and will be extended to 21 February 2021.