The Sint-Janshospitaal is housed in the medieval Saint Jan's Hospital. The museum manages a rich collection that for the most part was made for the hospital or comes from related charity institutions. Since 1796, the municipal houses of worship were declared authorised for the old church institutions. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, the properties of various houses of worship were given over to the Sint-Janshospitaal. This clarifies the presence of, for example, Memling's Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove, originally coming from the Saint Julian's Hospital.
The collection covers all artistic disciplines and is of an overall, high level. It is closely connected with the history of the hospital and the cloister community of Saint Jan's. It consists of religious works of art which supported the daily hospital operations and intruments from life in halls, pharmacies and cloister. Vital to the collection is the unique ensemble of six top works from the 15th-century panel painter Hans Memling. Four of them were ordered by the cloister community and are still found in situ, which is quite exceptional.
The collection is the property of the Bruges OCMW and is in principal closed. Yet, sporadically works of art are obtained as supplement and enrichment of the collection.
Mieke Parez & Sybilla Goegebuer
CC BY (Creative Commons 4.0)