It’s been about 30 years since I since I last spent time in Ghent and back then, like everyone else, I went to see the famous Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck. I remember being rather underwhelmed by a discoloured and dirty medieval masterpiece. It had obvious 18/19C. ‘Improvements’ and I left disappointed.
One afternoon recently I went to see it again to find it was in the process of being restored in the Museum of Modern Art, well half of it was, the bottom half to be precise.
There, being worked on by the conservators, was a different work, full of light and magnificent colour with all the old over painting stripped away. Now we can see it as the good burghers of Ghent would have known all those centuries ago.
The restoration work isn’t complete but you can see how it will look once all the Panels are back in place. It will be worth another visit, in fact it’s worth visiting to watch the restorers at work!