The Markt of Bruges with horse carriage, Belgium

Flemish Primitives

Flemish Primitives represent the birth of three-dimensional painting, the very beginning of depth technique.


Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Jheronimus Bosch,… The painters from the early Renaissance are bundled under the name Flemish Primitives.

They replace the dark background from the medieval paintings for the first time with lively landscape scenes that cry out for attention.

The artworks of the Flemish Primitives are not ‘primitive’ at all , not in the sense of simple and simple. Often years were painted on one canvas, their method was just very developed and modern for that time.

The word ‘primitive’ rather refers to ‘original’, to the beginning of the box effect in painting, which makes them just as famous.

Welcome to the Golden Age


There was hardly any painting in the Middle Ages. Art was limited to sculptures, stained glass windows, mosaics and one-dimensional portraits.

Only after the great explorations of Marco Polo, Christopher Colombus and Vasco da Gama, and the associated prosperity, did painting develop from the 15th century. And the artists of the time are the masters of visual stories.

Flanders the Burgundian Dynasty


The Flemish Primitives come from an area that was much larger than today’s Flanders. The County of Flanders from the 14th and 15th centuries included Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the north of France, one geographical area under the rule of the Burgundians.

The success of the Burgundian dynasty created powerful cities such as Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. With their support the rebirth of the coast developed, the Renaissance, but that support was not disinterested, it turns out later.

Divine Devils


The museum’s sculptures on display are divided into 2 main groups, on the one hand the divine works of Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, and on the other hand the devilish works of Hieronymus Bosch.

This paradox seeks to present an overall picture of the liberal ideas of the 15th and early 16th centuries in which the divine works also have a diabolical side, and the devil’s works reflect a heavenly glorification.



The acronym What You See Is What You Get is an underrated emotion in the 3D Museum, because what you see is not just what you see.

The physically elaborated scene is a delight to the eye, but also carries a message, the same message that is conveyed to us by the 15th and 16th century spectator.

What You See Is What You Mean, realistic objects with a hidden symbolism.

Trompe-l'oeil an optical illusion


By shrinking different scenes to fit in a ‘viewing box’, there is a chance that what the eye perceives will be interpreted differently by the brain. After all, seeing does not take place in the same brain parts as knowing.

The painterly trick in which something is depicted so lifelike that the viewer thinks it is real, that they evoke an illusion of reality, is based on a three-dimensional perspective. Art stepping out of the canvas…