Flanders buys Ensor painting for 3.75 million euros

The Flemish Community has acquired 'The Virgin of Consolation' by James Ensor for 3.75 million euros. It is currently on display at the MAS in Antwerp until 25 February, after which it will go on long-term loan to the Ghent Museum of Fine Arts.

According to experts, the painting, which dates back to 1892, is one of the last works from Ensor's best period. It is a narcissistic interpretation of the biblical story of the Annunciation: Mary takes the place of the angel Gabriel in the painting, while Ensor himself takes the place of Mary.

By purchasing the painting, the Flemish government makes sure that the work will be preserved and remain accessible. It is currently on display at the MAS in Antwerp, as part of a temporary exhibition of Flemish masterpieces. It will then go on permanent display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, where it was previously stored.

Flanders bought the painting for 3.75 million euros from an Ensor collector. The purchase can also be seen as a prelude to 2024, the year of Ensor. Throughout the year, exhibitions and other activities are planned in Antwerp, Oostende and Brussels to mark the 75th anniversary of the painter's death.


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