The Ghent Altarpiece revealed !


Opening hours

Open       10 am till 5 pm
                (access until 4.30 pm)
Closed     Monday
                24, 25, 31/12 & 1/1


- children until 12
- holders of a City card
2 euro (also groups)

Combination ticket 12 Euros (admission to the 3 locations Saint-Bavo Cathedral, Museum for Fine Arts (MSK), Caermersklooster)


Caermersklooster Provincial Cultural Centre
Vrouwebroersstraat 6 (Patershol)
9000 Ghent (Belgium)
tel. +32 (0)9 269 29 10 -

Guided tours available on request from

vzw Gandante
+32 (0)9 375 31 61

De Gentse Gidsen
+32 (0)9 233 07 72

+32 (0) 498 10 99 61

The Ghent Altarpiece revealed! History and research

During the restauration of the "Lam Gods", this exhibition will examine the painting from a number of very specific angles. Exceptional fragments of film, X-ray photographs, drawings, artworks, instruments and models will unveil the Earth (the wooden base, the way the layers of paint are built up, etc.) and the Heaven of the polyptych. The History and Various Researches into this stunning work are explained in a way never seen before. The showstopper of the exhibition is the full-size reconstruction of the altarpiece, complete with prints of the underlying and preparatory drawings.
dr. Annick Born, prof. Dr. Maximiliaan Martens, A.G.A. Van Grevenstein

catalog - price 10 euro - available at the 3 locations in English (Provincial Cultural Center Caermersklooster, Museum for Fine Arts - Ghent, Sint-Bavo's Cathedral)


Temporary exhibition Ghent Altarpiece

Our temporary exhibitions devoted to The Ghent Altarpiece change regularly, each of them focusing on a different aspect of the polyptych.

Whither the Ghent Altarpiece?

The first temporary exhibitions where 4 projects by engineering and architecture students as part of their master’s degree. They examined the question of where and how the Ghent Altarpiece  'Whither the Ghent Altarpiece? Four projects by UGent architecture students' can best be displayed at new location after its current restoration, in or close to Ghent’s Saint-Bavo's (Sint-Baafskathedraal). Some of the important issues involved here were how to display the work in a prominently visible position, access by the general public, climate control and heritage-related conservation.

A theologian, few members of the clergy and two art historians tell us about the meaning of the Ghent Altarpiece using texts and images. Each of these perspectives points to a different interpretation, which makes this exhibition all the more interesting. The visual approach adopted by the exhibition makes this challenging subject matter accessible and easy to understand for a wide audience.  

Did you know that the oak wood from the Ghent Altarpiece comes from the Baltic sea area? That traces on the panels and frames can tell us more about the setup of the polyptych? And that the amount of year rings in the panels can help us answer the question: Who of the brothers Van Eyck painted which panel?

Mystic Music

Mystical Music explores the musical world of these famous panels. Do the angels sing plainchant or in polyphony? Is the organ player on the right accompanying the music being performed on the left? Will the angels later play a song on the harp and medieval fiddle? We search eloquent answers to these interesting questions throughout the work of instrument maker Andrzej Perz (University College Ghent) and of Hendrik Vanden Abeele (Alamire Foundation and Ensemble Psallentes).

A miraculous garden

The central panel of the Ghent Altarpiece is sumptuously decorated with plants and flowers. Visitors are struck by the diversity and realism, with which the Van Eyck brothers painted this flora and fauna.Do these flowers and plants also have a symbolic meaning? Where did the Van Eyck brothers pick up this knowledge of botany? Exactly which kinds of flowers and plants are depicted and what purpose did they serve in the days of the Van Eycks? Some light will be shed on this and other questions at the temporary exhibition entitled Flora.


In 2012 the restorers of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, Brussels) started treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers. No one expected this restoration to turn into a revelation: the real Van Eyck proved to have been hidden underneath overpaint for centuries! The exhibition climaxes in a life-sized video projection of the exterior wings where
4 years of restoration are condensed in a few minutes…