For the past few years, GEMS member Samuel Mareel has taken on the role of curator for the exhibition Call for Justice, Art and Law in the Netherlands (1540-1650). He worked together with Manfred Sellink and Elsje Janssen. The expo is held in the new museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen, a sixteenth-century Burgundian palace that was restored recently for this purpose. Call for Justice is open from 23 March until 26 June 2018.
The exhibition highlights the rich and fascinating interaction between art, law and justice in the Netherlands from the 15th to the 17th century. In turbulent political and religious times, central institutions such as the Great Council of Mechelen gradually came to exercise more control over the legal process. While the administration of justice became more professional, it also became more unwieldy and less accessible. So it is no coincidence that justice and its administration feature as one of the most prominent themes in the art of the Low Countries in this period.
The exhibition builds on three central themes: justice, jurisprudence and injustice. You will discover prestigious masterpieces by artists such as Quentin Massys, Maarten van Heemskerck, Peter Brueghel the Elder, Maarten de Vos, Peter Paul Rubens, Antoon van Dyck and Philippe de Champaigne. Call for Justice examines the legal, historical and cultural context in which these works were created, gradually revealing one of the most universal human desires, namely the pursuit of justice and the complexity when it comes face-to-face with reality.
Some of the most prestigious museums in the world have loaned works for this exhibition. They include the Prado and the Patrimonio Nacional in Madrid, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford as well as national and international private collections. Call for Justice is the closing event of the OP.RECHT.MECHELEN city festival.