Around the turn of the 20th century, several artists came to live and work in the rural village of Sint-Martens-Latem, about a dozen kilometres from Ghent: George Minne, Valerius de Saedeleer, Karel and Gustave van de Woestyne, Albert Servaes... They were escaping from the city with its superficial fashionable art circles, had turned away from the light-heartedness of Impressionism and Luminism, and they sought to live close to the local peasants, believing that these simple folk, and the countryside itself, would help them develop a new, more profound and more inward-looking art. Religious feeling played a major role in their lives and in their work. In artistic terms, they were much influenced by the 'rediscovery' of the refined and interiorised art of the Flemish Primitives. Typically, these artists used sober colours and clear outlines, and sought to present a 'synthesis'. To these painters, reality was alive and had a soul.This small artists' colony in Sint-Martens-Latem was not an isolated phenomenon at the time. In other circles too, artists, writers and others were gathering in like-minded groups, adopting a more contemplative attitude, trying to live a more meaningful life and seeking profound contact with people and places that could foster it.