Saint Bavo’s Cathedral

Hubert (ca. 1366-1426) en Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390-1441)

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb
Aanbidding van het Lam Gods van de Gebroeders Van Eyck

Paintings that changed the course of Western pictorial art are extremely rare. The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck Brothers is a typical example of this. A visit should be on every art lover's bucket list. Definitely worth a trip!

Aanbidding van het Lam Gods van de Gebroeders Van Eyck

Saint Bavo’s Cathedral

Sint-Baafskathedraal has a long and detailed history. As early as 942, a small church is said to have been dedicated to John the Baptist here. A Romanesque church was built in the mid-12th century, traces of which can still be found in the murals adorning the crypt. The Gothic church we are familiar with today was built in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was still referred to as Sint-Janskerk (Saint John’s Church). The nearby Sint-Baafsabdij (Saint Bavo’s Abbey) was dissolved in 1536 by order of the Emperor Charles V. The monks became canons and their chapter moved to the church, which was henceforth referred to as Sint-Baafskerk (Saint Bavo’s Church). Until 1559 when the diocese of Ghent was established and the church became a cathedral. One of the cathedral’s chief administrators was Bishop Anthonius Triest. The opulent, Baroque interior bears witness to his powerful influence. Sint-Baafskathedraal is a true treasure trove, with many other art treasures in addition to the Mystic Lamb, including The Conversion of Saint Bavo by Peter Paul Rubens and the tomb created by Jerôme Duquesnoy II for Bishop Triest.

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

The history of Western painting would have looked different without the pioneering work of Jan van Eyck. The most significant and largest painting he produced was the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb which dates back to 1432. His brother Hubert started working on this polyptych at the behest of Judocus Vijd and Elisabeth Borluut, two prominent Ghent based patricians. When Hubert van Eyck died in 1426 his brother Jan continued the work. The Mystic Lamb as we know it today was painted primarily by Jan van Eyck and his studio artists. At the centre is the lamb, symbolizing Christ, which sacrifices its blood to take away the sins of mankind. By perfecting the oil painting technique and introducing his incomparable realism, Jan van Eyck created an unparalleled masterpiece with scenic vistas, an encyclopaedic depiction of nature, life-size figures, the illusion of sculpture, his legendary rendering of light and many more details.

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Practical information

Address

Sint-Baafsplein
9000 Gent
Belgium
View directions

Opening hours

  • The cathedral is open Monday to Saturday from 08.30 to 17.30 hrs and Sunday from 13.00 to 17.30 hrs.

  • The Mystic Lamb can be visited Monday to Saturday from 10.00 to 17.00 hrs and Sunday from 13.00 to 17.00 hrs.


     

Accessibility

  • Easy access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  • Cathedral admission: free

  • Admission to the Mystic Lamb: € 12.50 standard rate

Other sites nearby

Sint-Jacobskerk in Gent (Interieur)
Saint James’ Church is one of the few churches to combine Romanesque and Baroque architecture: a truly unique location.
Sint-Michielskerk Gent (interieur)
The Gothic church exhibits a remarkable unity of style, which is also reflected in the interior. It is a haven of peace within the city centre of Ghent.
De Fontein des Levens van Lucas Horenbout II (detail)
Discover Lucas II Horenbout in the Klein Begijnhof and briefly escape from the hustle and bustle in Ghent.