Photo of the week: The leaders and the lamb


French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte visited art conservators working on the famed Ghent Altarpiece this week

L’Agneau mystique

The conservators working on “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” in Ghent took time out on Monday to explain their restoration process and techniques to French president Emmanuel Macron. Macron was in the city of the three towers on Monday as part of his first state visit to Belgium.

Macron (centre) was joined by (from left) Queen Mathilde, King Filip, Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois, Brigitte Macron and Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. The “Mystic Lamb” by the Van Eyck brother dates from 1430 and is one of the world’s first oil paintings.

The restoration process of the large-scale altarpiece has been going on for several years. While most of the 20 panels are on view in Ghent’s Sint-Baafs Cathedral, the panels undergoing restoration – including the central panel that sports the piece’s title character – are located in the city’s Fine Arts Museum a few kilometres away.

After seeing the panel and talking to restorers, the group went to the centre of Ghent, where crowds of citizens greeted them. After Michel took a few selfies with members of the public, the group moved on to a meeting with Ghent mayor Daniël Termont and Belgian business leaders and investors.

Macron also had private meetings with Michel and the royal couple as part of the two-day  visit, as well as delivering a talk to students at the Catholic University of Louvain and visiting the La Vallée creative co-working space in Molenbeek.

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/BELGA