Bouts is Still in the Building

On the 8th January our in-focus display celebrating our latest acquisition- ‘Image and Substance: St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child’- came to a close. And I think the one question that I have been asked most frequently since then (other than ‘Why does the baby look like that?’) is: ‘Has the painting gone now?’

 

‘Image and Substance’ in-focus display
‘Image and Substance’ in-focus display

 

‘St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child’ by the Workshop of Dieric Bouts
‘St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child’ by the Workshop of Dieric Bouts

 

Well, you’ll be happy to hear that the answer to this is no. Although the painting will be leaving us for 3 years in October- as it goes on loan to Bristol and York- until then we will have it on display as part of our permanent collection in the second floor picture galleries. Meaning there is plenty of time to come and see it again before we wave ‘vaarwel’ (This is the dire extent of my Dutch language skills).

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

The process of getting works from an exhibition into the permanent collection takes a bit of time and A LOT of preparation.

The planning starts months in advance where, similarly to exhibitions, we use scale models to help determine the new, possible positions of the works.

 

Scale Model
Scale Model

 

If you’re a regular visitor to The Bowes, you will know that we have a pretty extensive collection already on show in our picture galleries…

 

Early Picture Gallery
Early Picture Gallery

 

…therefore making space for the Bouts wasn’t going to be as easy as taking one painting down to put another one up in its place.

Rearranging paintings in the gallery can create what can only be described as… a bit of a domino effect. If you move one to put elsewhere, the majority of the paintings surrounding them need to be rearranged as well, to make sure that the display continues to work well visually.

Thankfully the redisplay for the Bouts was relatively simple (I won’t go into too much detail about the huge family portrait that had to come down…) But here is how we did it-

You may remember that the original display looked like this…

 

Previous Hang
Previous Hang

 

Well, the team from North Exhibition Services completely stripped it down to this…

 

Taking Paintings Down
Taking Paintings Down

 

Before adding the Bouts, the top two paintings were hung- One of which was part of the original display, another which was taken from the centre picture gallery. This then allowed us to mark out the position for our acquisition and finally hang it in place…

 

Re-Hang
Re-Hang

 

Install of St Luke Drawing the Virgin & Child
Install of St Luke Drawing the Virgin & Child

 

Finally, the surrounding display was completed…

 

New Hang
New Hang

 

And the rehang was complete!… (Well this part was anyway!)

 

St Luke Drawing the Virgin & Child by Dieric Bouts
St Luke Drawing the Virgin & Child by Dieric Bouts

 

We hope you like the new display- We’d love to know what you think!

By Catherine Dickinson, Coordinator for the Bouts Public Display and Activity Plan

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2 thoughts on “Bouts is Still in the Building

    1. Thank you for your query, the reason the baby is bloated is due to the time the painting was made, swollen tummies were the fashion. The ungainly position of his arms seems to recall Christ’s posture on the cross (with his arms outstretched) but it can be interpreted also as a reaction to the apple that the Virgin is giving to him. The apple is traditionally considered the forbidden fruit – symbol of the fall of men – which Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden. The reason for him having older features for his face is to reflect Christ’s wisdom and his destiny that he was born to die.

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