In the spring of 2007 this exhibition travelled from the National Gallery of Art in Washington to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp.
This unique exhibition was presented in Washington under the title: Prayers and Portraits, Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych. The close cooperation between the National Gallery, Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp brought together thirty diptych jewels. The fifteenth and sixteenth-century works shed light on a rich period in Flemish art history. In addition, a number of these diptychs were reunited for the first time after many years of separation. After Washington, Antwerp was the only place where the exhibition could be visited.
Diptychs are visual works that consist of two panels of the same shape and size. The panels are hinged so that they can be opened and closed. The diptych has a long history. They were already used as writing tablets in antiquity. The diptych reached new heights again in the early Netherlandish art of painting. Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes and Hans Memling painted masterpieces using this format.