M Leuven is ready to guide you through the fascinating story of this magnificent church – a highlight of Brabant Gothic architecture – and to help you renew your acquaintance with its art treasures: a unique collection of Flemish masterpieces still in their original location. These treasures are brought to life as part of a powerful and innovative experience that you’ll be able to share thanks to unique digital tools.
Masterpieces and their stories
Among others, we will be talking about ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’ by the Flemist Master from Leuven, Dieric Bouts. They are among the absolute masterpieces of Flemish painting and are unmissable during a visit to Leuven.
But also the Edelheere Triptych and the Triumphal Cross by Jan Borman, the monumental Sacrament Tower, the tomb of Henry I and the chapel of ‘Proud Margaret’ each have a place in the complete experience M has prepared for you. Astonishing worlds are brought to life as you discover the stories behind the church, its art treasures and the vibrant city that they call home.
About Dieric Bouts
Dieric Bouts (ca. 1410-1475), who might be mentioned in the same breath as Jan Van Eyck or Rogier Van der Weyden, was one of the most important Flemish Masters. Of Dutch origins, he settles in Leuven, was married here in 1448 and lived here until his death. Two of his iconic masterpieces, 'The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’, were painted in Leuven, and the works can still be seen in their original setting to this day.
Over the centuries, Bouts’ other masterpieces were scattered, and can now be seen in the great museums of the world. Although it was not yet universally known at that time, the art-historical value of ‘The Last Supper’ is so great that the work has become an absolute must-see for international art lovers.
The religious scenes that Bouts depicted in a realistic and earthly setting literally remove the boundaries between heaven and earth. In this sense, Bouts is perhaps the most exemplary artist in the 15th-century tradition that sought to articulate new forms of what it means to be human. He explored the possibilities of realism and the representation of the real world so that viewers would more easily be able to identify with the message that his paintings conveyed.
Bouts was Leuven’s city painter at a time when the city was undergoing massive urban development. This is precisely why he is an essential artist for the development of Renaissance art in a humanist town like Leuven in that period.