Museum in Motion

Collection presentation

Museum in Motion

04.03.2021 - 31.03.2024
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M’s collection is constantly changing - a way for us to enrich the collection with unique pieces that tell an exceptional story. In 'Museum in Motion', a number of these new works are shown in the museum galleries for the first time. This is also the moment to discover what goes on behind the scenes at M.

New acquisitions

With its 52,000 objects, the M collection forms the foundation of the museum. In 'Museum in Motion' some new acquisitions make their debut in the galleries. A number of works by the Bouts family are currently in the spotlight.


There is an exclusively opportunity to discover 'Mater Dolorosa', a long-term loan from a private collection, attributed to the studio of Albrecht Bouts. The work can be seen next to 'The Man of Sorrows', attributed to the studio of Dieric Bouts, Albrecht's father. The two works of art may previously have formed a diptych.


M is also showing another long-term loan from a private collection: 'The Meeting of Abraham and Melchisedek', also by son Albrecht.

Dieric Bouts

Dieric Bouts moved from Haarlem to Leuven, married there and became a city painter. He maintained important intellectual contacts with the university and he is today considered one of the greatest Flemish Masters. His best-known painting is 'The Last Supper', now on display in St Peter's Church. In addition to painting large altarpieces, he also introduced ‘Compositions of Andachtsbilder’ – oratory prints intended for religious worship – such as the diptych with the 'Mater Dolorosa' and the 'Man of Sorrows'. These productions were enormously successful and copies were made up until the 1520s, especially by Dieric’s son Albrecht Bouts.

The history of M

‘Museum in Motion' is – as the name suggests – constantly in motion. In addition to new acquisitions for the collection, this time we show the history of M with an overview of the most important milestones. You will find out how M came into being, learn more about the history of the site and discover the original layout of the Vander Kelen-Mertens Museum.


Furthermore, you can also immerse yourself in various books about art and history or listen to an interview about the coming together of old and contemporary art in M.

Acquisition policy

The optimal preservation and enriching of this core collection is an important task. We sometimes purchase objects ourselves, but there are also regular donations, legacies or long-term loans. We apply strict criteria to determine whether an object on offer actually fits into the collection. In addition to acquiring as many masterpieces as possible, the focus is on sculpture from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Heritage that has a historical link with Leuven or the old Duchy of Brabant and that has a museological and artistic quality is also given a place in the collection. In addition to the historical core collection of the City of Leuven, M manages many long-term loans from, among others, the Flemish Community and the Cera Collection. The latter collection comprises more than 600 pieces of contemporary art, with a focus on Belgian art after 1945. M Cera advises on the purchasing policy for this ever-growing collection.

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