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During the middle ages, pilgrims and crusaders passed from the West to the Holy Land through Byzantine territories, encountering Byzantium’s culture and disseminating it upon their return. However, it is only during the late fourteenth and during the fifteenth century that the Low Countries began looking at Byzantine models as inspiration. Early Netherlandish painters as Van Eyck, Van der Weyden, Memling and Schongauer adhered to the Byzantine models and transformed them into devotional images. The reasons for such a phenomenon are manifold, but the councils of the Catholic Church increased the awareness of the importance of Byzantium for Christendom, while the Devotio Moderna created a demand for new devotional imagery.

Complementary to the early-Netherlandish painting section, the Centre for Fine Arts will present in collaboration with the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage of Belgium an innovative digital experience around Jan van Eyck.