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© Tom Van Ghent

The Virgin of Consolation

New masterpiece by James Ensor in the expo

The Flemish Community purchased James Ensor's 'The Virgin of Consolation'. By acquiring it, the government thus guarantees that it will be preserved for the future and become part of our cultural heritage. The painting had been on the 'Flemish Masterpieces' list since 2007.

'The Virgin of Consolation' occupies a pivotal position in the oeuvre of painter James Ensor (1860 - 1949). The painting dates from 1892 and is one of the last works from Ensor's creative period between 1885 and 1893. He first exhibited the painting at 'Les XX' in 1893 and kept it with him in his studio throughout his life.

The work has special artistic value because of Ensor's narcissistic interpretation of the Biblical story of the Message of Mary. Mary has taken the place of the angel Gabriel in the painting. Ensor himself takes the place of Mary.

Ensor himself said of the work in his correspondence with his friend and collector Edgard Picard: "'The Virgin of Consolation' is a unique painting [...] and I had decided never to part with it."

The painting will be on display in the portrait gallery in the 'Rare and Indispensable' exhibition until 25 February. After the end of the exhibition, the work will be given into long-term loan at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent

James Ensor “De Virgin of Consolation”, Collection Museum of Fine Arts Ghent – Collection Flemish Community

See also

20 years 'Flemish Masterpieces Decree'

What is valuable must be protected. That is the logic of the Flemish Masterpieces Decree. Since the creation of this decree in 2003, just about 1,000 objects and collections have been recognised and protected as masterpieces. Through decree, the government also strengthens public collections by acquiring important masterpieces.

Masterpieces from the Governement of Flanders

Flanders possesses a magnificent collection of movable cultural heritage. With the 'Masterpieces Decree', the Flemish government wants to protect these unique cultural objects. Based on the decree, a list of rare and indispensable objects was compiled. Some of them are part of the MAS collection.

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