“Dulle Griet” back in Antwerp following restoration and show abroad


The fully restored jewel in the crown of the Museum Mayer van den Bergh, “Dulle Griet”, is open to the public and looking forward to an evening of talks on her many symbols and stories

Secrets revealed

The world-famous painting “Dulle Griet”, or “Mad Meg”, is back in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp after a two-year absence. The 16th-century painting has spent the last few months in an exhibition of work by Peter Bruegel in Vienna following a full restoration in Brussels.

The museum is delighted to see the return of its star attraction, as is the city. “It’s been too long since I’ve been able to marvel at this beautiful work,” said culture city councillor Nabilla Ait Daoud. “I’m also curious to see the restoration of this iconic masterpiece and to see ‘our’ Bruegel back in its home.”

Several revelations were uncovered during the restoration, which removed much old, yellowed varnish and overpainting. Not only did Bruegel’s choice of colour palette finally get a chance to shine through, several details emerged that were invisible before, including a teddy bear, decoration on Dulle Griet’s helmet and intricate landscaping in the background.

Slaapwel, Griet

Flemish author Jeroen Olyslaegers will welcome the painting home in a special event on 1 March. Joined by other guests, he will lead several debates on the meanings associated with and the symbols contained in the animated painting, rich with action and fine detail. Visitors can attend one or more debates, after which Olyslaegers – always a great fan of the painting – will spend the night next to it.

This year is the 450 anniversary of Peter Bruegel the Elder’s death, and many activities and exhibitions are planned across Flanders and Brussels The Museum Mayer van den Bergh is getting in on the action with an exhibition titled From Fourquet to Bruegel. It launches on 5 October, exactly 125 years go the day that Antwerp merchant Fritz Mayer van den Bergh bought “Dulle Griet” in Cologne – for 448 Belgian francs.

Tickets to Jeroen Olyslaegers Welcomes Dulle Griet go on sale on 8 February. All debates will be in Dutch

Photo: Ans Brys