The tremendous holdings of this gallery give you the makings for a crash course in the Flemish Primitives and their successors. Petrus Christus, Hugo Van der Goes, Hieronymus Bosch, Rogier van der Weyden, Gerard David, Pieter Bruegel (both Elder and Younger), Pieter Pourbus—all the greats are represented. Here you can see Jan van Eyck's wonderfully realistic Madonna with Canon Van der Paele, in which van Eyck achieved texture and depth through multiple layers of oil and varnish. The painter's attention to detail is all-embracing; the canon's pouchy flesh and the nets of wrinkles around his eyes are as carefully depicted as the crimson folds of the Madonna's robe or her waving golden hair (also look for the reflections in the knight's armor). There's also one of Hans Memling's greatest works, the Moreel Triptych. The namesake family is portrayed on the side panels, all with preternaturally blank expressions. As if this weren't enough, the museum also encompasses a strong
display of 15th- to 21st-century Dutch and Belgian works, sweeping through to Surrealist and contemporary art. The Groeninge is set back from the street in a pocket-size park behind a medieval gate. It isn't a huge museum; nonetheless, its riches warrant a full morning or afternoon. An audio guide is available in English.