A festive feast for the eyes

Posted on by Lauren MacCarthy.

From 27 October we will be home to an amazing loan from the Bowes Museum: St. Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child, painted in the workshop of the 15th century Flemish painter, Dieric Bouts.

We are thrilled to be welcoming the painting to Bristol which will be on display in our newly refurbished Old Masters Gallery for two years.

Dieric Bouts is viewed as one of the most important early Netherlandish artists. The painting is an excellent example of the early yet sophisticated use of oil painting by Flemish artists of the Northern Renaissance, which later influenced artists across Europe.

St Luke drawing the Virgin and Child by Dieric Bouts

The painting features a decorated interior with the patron saint of artists, St. Luke carefully drawing the Virgin holding the Christ child. A window gives a view of a walled town receding into a mountainous horizon and an open door offers a glimpse of an artist’s studio. The large scale of the painting suggests that it may have been commissioned for a public setting like a chapel.

Works by Bouts in public collections are rare, particularly in the UK. The painting has attracted a large amount of academic interest and it has been scientifically investigated by the National Gallery.

The loan is part of an innovative partnership between us, the Bowes Museum and York Gallery. The collaboration was established when the Bowes Museum purchased the painting for £2,290,650 following a temporary export bar.

High profile loans like this help us to reinvigorate our galleries and provide you with magnificent new art to enjoy. We’re excited to see the masterpiece alongside our own excellent Old Masters collection.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), a variety of events will take place to celebrate the prestigious arrival. Check out our programme of lectures, tours and early morning mindfulness, yoga and meditation sessions to set you up for the day.

There is also work underway to use the painting as a focus to develop activities for people with dementia and their families. We will be working with care homes to create story boxes which can be used with residents. If you’d like to find out more about this project, please contact us.

See this gallery on our exhibitions online

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