Rare Special Editions available for ACC Art Books –  More Information

Face to Face with Hugo van der Goes – Musea Brugge, Belgium

28 Oct — 5 Feb 2023

Face to face with Death. Hugo van der Goes, old masters and new interpretations

‘The Death of the Virgin’ by Hugo van der Goes is one of the most important works in Musea Brugge’s world famous collection of Flemish Primitive art. Between 2018 and 2022, the painting was subjected to an extensive and intensive process of restoration, the results of which are truly magnificent. From autumn 2022, this masterpiece will feature both literally and figuratively as the central point in this outstanding exhibition in the Sint-Janshospitaal.

‘The Death of the Virgin’ has been part of our glorious cultural heritage for 550 years, but why does this painting continue to intrigue and inspire us, even today? How is it possible that after five centuries it still evokes universal and relevant topics that people wish to discuss?

Timeless subjects

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.

‘Face to face with Death’ will cause us to pause and reflect on a number of timeless and current subjects, such as saying a last farewell to loved ones, meaning and spirituality. The exhibition also examines the life and the iconic significance of the Virgin and sheds new light on the virtuosity of the master himself: Hugo van der Goes.

New Masters

That the painting is more topical than ever is proven by five ‘New Masters’, each of whom introduces a different facet of the exhibition. They are all virtuosos in their fields, touched in one way or another by The Death of the Virgin. We are delighted that the following New Masters are taking part in the exhibition:

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer (1968), Dutch poet and author of bestsellers such as Grand Hotel Europa and La Superba, for which he received the Libris Literature Award.

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer introduces the theme ‘Mary‘.


Sholeh Rezazadeh (1989), young Iranian-Dutch writer and doctor. With her debut novel ‘De hemel is altijd paars’ (The Sky Is Always Purple) she stood out in the international literary world and won several awards.

Sholeh Rezazadeh introduces the theme ‘parting‘.


Ivo van Hove (1958), theatre and opera director, and also director of the International Theater Amsterdam. He has already worked with several top international names, including David Bowie on the musical Lazarus.

Ivo van Hove introduces the theme ‘the experience of faith and visual culture‘.


Berlinde De Bruyckere (1964), a top Belgian artist with numerous domestic and foreign exhibitions in renowned museums to her name.

Berlinde De Bruyckere introduces the theme ‘meaning‘.


Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (1960), one of Belgium’s most lauded choreographers and dancers. Founder of the world-renowned company Rosas, and inspiration and mentor to dance companies from around the world.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker introduces the theme ‘virtuosity‘.

Recently Viewed

Please log-in or create an account to see your recent items.