The Map of Utopia (1595-96), made by the famous Antwerp cartographer Abraham Ortelius, is the only engraving that exists of the imaginary island described by Thomas More and it is now preserved for future generations. The same is true for a magnificent 17th century illustrated Mons songbook and a 15th century book of Gregorian chant.
The King Baudouin Foundation was able to acquire the ‘Recueil des plus beaux airs de ce temps’ composed in 1620, at Arenberg Auctions on 13 October, 2018. The manuscript has some thirty full-page miniatures, created on vellum and silk, all of exceptional quality.
So, what could Utopia be like, this imaginary island where everything is guided by reason? The only original engraving that remains of the island described by Thomas More has been able to be acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation. It is now available for everyone to see at the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp.
After more than 40 years in private ownership, 'Matthew the Apostle' is now accessible to the general public at the Rubens House. The King Baudouin Foundation acquired this early Van Dyck masterpiece as the result of a bequest. It is the only composition from the renowned Böhler series on view in a Belgian public collection.
A masterpiece of Modernist sculpture in Belgium, some rare 18th century drawings of jewellery and a splendid series of drawings by Richard van Orley, are just a few examples of recently acquired pieces that have now been safeguarded for the benefit of us all.