The 5 best places to see Flemish art
The Groeninge art museum was redesigned in 2003 by architects 51N4E. The Brussels-based firm transformed the 1930s museum by introducing bare white walls and deep red carpets the colour of a Virgin’s gown. The result is visually striking and occasionally shocking. But then Flemish art was never meant to be comforting.
Founded next to a canal in about 1150, the Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest hospitals in the world. Its vast wards were still treating patients in the 1860s, but it is now an engaging museum dedicated to the history of healthcare in Bruges.
The Sint-Jakobskerk is full of paintings donated by 15th-century foreign merchants. Sometimes you will find a volunteer guide who can reveal the secret of the twisted baroque columns and show you the hidden switch that lights up the painting of the Legend of Saint Lucy.
4) Cathedral Treasury
The Cathedral Treasury is a strange, forgotten place, open for just a few hours in the afternoon. But it contains some unusual Flemish paintings, along with ancient sculptures, reliquaries and relics. Many of the works were rescued from the old Cathedral on Burg when it was demolished after the French Revolution.
This quiet, forgotten museum is located in an ancient brick hospital on the Potterierei canal. The old rooms and baroque chapel are crammed with strange objects including a neo-Gothic mausoleum erected in memory of Saint Idesbald, a beautiful 14th-century Madonna and a collection of 17th-century Antwerp mannerist paintings.
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