The Manuscript from Sawalo

Illuminare is researching and exposing the 12th century Gospels from the abbey of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. This commonly not well-known masterpiece is being kept at the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp. The manuscript was written and illuminated over eight hundred years ago, approximately between 1160 and 1200. The illuminator, who is known only as ‘Follower of the Master of Sawalo’, remains anonymous to this day. Nevertheless, he was active throughout the golden age of the abbey. In the final quarter of the 12th century, the quality of book illumination at the scriptorium of  Saint-Amand-les-Eaux reached its peak, and this precious manuscript may serve as an excellent witness to this. Prof. Lieve Watteeuw and Bruno Vandermeulen will study, conserve and digitize the manuscript. This project will be executed within the context of the RICH Project.

The Enclosed Gardens of the Municipal Museums of Mechelen

In October 2014, a team of restorers started with the restoration of the seven Enclosed Gardens (Dutch: Besloten Hofjes) held by the Municipal Museums of Mechelen. The collection of seven Enclosed Gardens dates to the 16th century and belonged to the former convent of Mechelen’s Hospital Sisters. Enclosed Gardens were mainly fabricated in the city of Mechelen, though only a few survive. Because of its extraordinary coherence and uniqueness, this collection of seven Enclosed Gardens was recognised as belonging to the category of Flemish Masterpieces by the Flemish Government. The aim of the research and restoration project is to gather expertise on the conservation and restoration of comparable mixed-media objects. After restoration, three of the Enclosed Gardens were presented to the public for the first time at the prestigious and international exhibition In search of Utopia (2016) in Museum M in Leuven. By 2018, one of the main goals of the project will be achieved: The entire collection of seven Enclosed Gardens will be on permanent display in the Municipal Museums of Mechelen (Hof van Busleyden).

Digital Corpus of Flemish Retabels

The aim of the project Digital Corpus of Flemish Retables is to disclose three collections of 15th and 16th century Flemish altarpieces in images in order to create a Digital Corpus of Flemish Retables that is as complete as possible. It contains visual documentation that was collected by Herman De Smedt (1927-2009), Jaap Leeuwenberg (1904-1978) and Hans Nieuwdorp (°1944). For this project, that is funded by the Chair for Medieval Sculpture in the Netherlands, lluminare collaborates with the RKD - Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague. By joining forces to provide access to specialist documentation the two institutes aim to increase the significance of this material for scholars and to promote interest in sculpture from the Middle Ages. The Digital Corpus of Flemish Retables started in September 2016 under the supervision of Suzanne Laemers (RKD) and Prof. Jan Van der Stock (Illuminare) and is carried out by Iris Ippel (RKD), Olivia Puzzolante and Hannah De Moor (Illuminare), whose dissertation on Netherlandish carved altarpieces in medieval Sweden contributes to this research project.