Synthesis report restoration Ghent Altarpiece

In the fall of 2012 the KIK-IRPA started the first phase of the conservation-restoration campaign of the Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck brothers. The restorers meticulously uncovered the original paint layer of the panels and frames of the closed altarpiece, which were broadly overpainted. The restored panels and frames can be admired each day between 12 and 13h at St Bavo’s cathedral, when the altarpiece is closed and the rear panels are shown to the public… A unique experience!

Click here to read the synthesis report of the first phase of the study and conservation campaign (in Dutch)

In the current and second phase of this vast campaign, carried out in a specially equipped exhibition room at the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts (MSK), the restorers of the KIK-IRPA are treating the lower register of the open polyptych, with the central panel representing the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. On these panels the broad overpaint covering the original Van Eyck will also be removed under the supervision of an international and interdisciplinary expert committee. After restoration, these panels will be on show at the new visitor’s centre in St Bavo’s during the Van Eyck year 2020. The restored panels of the closed altarpiece, for their part, will be the pièce de résistance of the exhibition ‘Van Eyck: An Optical Revolution’, which will bring to life the world of Jan Van Eyck at the MSK during the spring of 2020.


Both phases of the conservation-restoration campaign are financed by the Flemish Government (80%) and by the Baillet Latour Fund (20%)