This issue of the Antwerp Royal Museum Annual offers a select number of groundbreaking studies. Important pre-eyckian wall paintings that have recently come to light in Mechelen are studied in depth by Anna Bergmans and Marjan Buyle. They greatly enrich our knowledge of monumental painting in Flanders before the epoch of the ‘Flemish Primitives’. A specialist in Flemish Baroque sculpture, Valerie Herremans, in her Ars longa vita brevis. Altar Decoration and the Salvation of the Soul in the Seventeenth Century, studies the interrelations of monumental altarpieces and ensembles with devotional attitudes, concepts of charity, the practice of indulgences, and Contrareformation doctrine about sacred space. In Wild is the Wind. Pathosformel and Iconology of a Quintessence, Barbara Baert builds upon a Warburgian concept and, investigating the representation of the invisible, develops a chapter in her far reaching quest for a new iconology. In a parallele movement, Paul Vandenbroeck undertakes a crosscultural research into the ‘semantic cloud’ around a nameless motif, appearing in a multitude of forms in several arts, from ‘feminine’ domestic weaving to ‘masculine’ painting and ‘decorative’ art.. Barbara Baert writes in her essay about Kairos, the personification of the hardly graspable turning point, as opposite to Chronos; he admonishes to seize the moment; those who fail to follow suit will fall behind for good. This is true too for institutions, devoted as they may be to long-living Chronos: a change in their existence must be seen as a chance for sudden opportunities.
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