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The altar of St. Bavo's Cathedral
J2R/iStock Photo/Getty Images

'The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb': A Masterpiece Restored

By Andrew Harper

The Hideaway Report | April 23, 2018

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Recently restored, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, in Ghent’s St. Bavo’s Cathedral is considered a masterpiece of late medieval art. Painted between 1430 and 1432, the 12-panel altarpiece is notable for having been one of the first northern European works to move away from idealization to a psychologically richer style of human portraiture and an exacting observation of nature. In 1934, two of the panels were stolen.

Recently restored, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb,” by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, in Ghent’s St. Bavo’s Cathedral is considered a masterpiece of late medieval art. Painted between 1430 and 1432, the 12-panel altarpiece is notable for having been one of the first northern European works to move away from idealization to a psychologically richer style of human portraiture and an exacting observation of nature. In 1934, two of the panels were stolen.

"The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, which hangs in St. Bavo's Cathedral Web Gallery of Art/Wikimedia Commons

The “St. John the Baptist” panel was quickly recovered, but “The Just Judges” panel is still missing (the panel on display today was produced by Belgian art restorer Jef Van der Veken). Since the altarpiece is displayed in a small room, try to visit at off-peak times — early in the day, at noon or just before closing — to have the pleasure of studying its sumptuous beauty in relative solitude.

St. Bavo’s Cathedral
Sint-Baafsplein, 9000 Gent. Tel. 32-9-225-2461

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