The Ghent Altarpiece, painted by the Van Eyck brothers and completed in 1432, is one of the masterpieces of early Netherlandish painting. It is also a work with an eventful history. In 1821 the wings of the altarpiece were acquired for Berlin as part of the Solly Collection. In 1920, however, they were ceded as reparations to Belgium by the German Reich under the Treaty of Versailles. In the central hall of the Gemäldegalerie, the Ghent Altarpiece has now been reconstructed to its original size from 16th and 17th century copies and from photographs taken of the wings when they were housed here. Alongside, the work’s centuries of chequered history are also retraced. In addition, there is a documentary with pictorial records of important stages in the recognition of the work’s importance and its presentation to the public in Berlin: the excitement of the early researchers into early Netherlandish painting, the various ways in which the work was exhibited and the sometimes drastic restoration measures to which it was submitted.
As part of the programme for the commemorative year, "1914. Aufbruch. Weltbruch”, the exhibition also addresses the reason why the Treaty of Versailles demanded the wings of the altarpiece as reparation: the massive war damage suffered by Belgium.
A publication accompanying the exhibition will explore these various aspects in more depth and trace the eventful history of the Ghent Altarpiece through the many wars, from the 16th to the 20th century, which influenced its fate.
Address / Getting there
U-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
S-Bahn: Potsdamer Platz
Bus: Potsdamer Brücke, Potsdamer Platz Bhf / Voßstraße, Kulturforum, Philharmonie
Sun 11:00 - 18:00
Tue 10:00 - 18:00
Wed 10:00 - 18:00
Thu 10:00 - 20:00
Fri 10:00 - 18:00
Sat 11:00 - 18:00
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