Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Brussels, Belgium

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are a group of art museums in Brussels. There are four museums connected with the Royal Museum, and two of them (the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art, Brussels), are in the main building. The other two (the Constantin Meunier Museum and the Antoine Wiertz Museum) are dedicated to specific Belgian artists, are much smaller, and are located a few kilometers from the city center.

The Royal Museum contains over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which date from the early 15th century to the present. The museum has an extensive collection of Flemish painting, among them paintings by Bruegel and Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin (the Master of Flémalle), Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens. The museum is also proud of its 'Rubens Room', which houses more than 20 paintings by the artist.

The painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, long-attributed to Brueghel, is located here and forms the subject of W. H. Auden"s famous poem Musée des Beaux Arts, named after the museum.

The main building which now houses the Museum of Ancient Art was built as the Palais des Beaux-Arts, designed by Belgian architect Alphonse Balat and funded by King Leopold II. Balat was the king"s principal architect, and this was one part of the king"s vast building program for Belgium. The building was completed in 1887, and stands as an example of the Beaux-Arts architecture use of themed statuary to assert the identity and meaning of the building.

The extensive program of architectural sculpture includes the four figures of Music, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting atop the four main piers, the work of sculptors Égide Mélot, Joseph Geefs, Louis Samain, and Guillaume de Groot respectively. The finial, gilded Genius of Art was also designed by de Groot. The three rondels of Rubens, van Ruysbroek, and Jean de Bologne, who represent painting, architecture, and sculpture, are the work of Antoine-Joseph Van Rasbourgh, Antoine-Félix Bouré and Jean Cuypers. The two bas-relief panels are Music by Thomas Vincotte and Industrial Arts by Charles Brunin. The two bronze groups on pedestals represent The Crowning of Art by Paul de Vigne, and The Teaching of Art by Charles van der Stappen.

On the side of the building, a memorial commemorates five members of the Mouvement National Royaliste, a resistance group, killed during the liberation of Brussels on 3–4 September 1944.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1803
Category: Museums in Belgium

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Johan van der Tol (4 months ago)
Visited the Dutch spring exhibition. Some very nice and interesting pieces on display. The tour was not as well marked, so don't forget to take the audio tour. Definitely worth a visit when you are in town.
Branimira Palic (5 months ago)
Do visit! Don't even think of visiting all of it at once. It is a very nice museum in the city centre. Try to focus on what you like most, otherwise you will be exhausted by the time you get out.
Hande tunçay (5 months ago)
Get lost in Magritte's mind. You can find his early work and the craziest ones exhibited on 3 levels of the museum. The best part is the videos where you can see this mad man and his wife and friends trying something new and having so much fun! The audio guide definitely worth it! This is not a comment (:
Nimrod Lavi (5 months ago)
This was one of the best museums with some of the most interesting displays we've been to. We really enjoyed the Magritte exhibition currently on display as it was very interesting to see all of his work they collected and the flow in which they decided to display it, and to learn about the artist himself. We would definitely recommend coming here and spending a few hours covering all the rooms and exhibitions in the museum.
emily marks (6 months ago)
Wonderful, extremely large museum. I would advise breaking the visit up into a couple of days if you have time. The audio tour was a nice guide throughout the museum. Art from the some of the "Greats" displayed masterpieces from local historical artists. Interesting to see the contrast in style from those in other regions of the world. Some great impressionism pieces housed here as well. The Magritte Museum was bizarre, thought provoking and fun. I highly recommend a visit for anyone somewhat interested in art. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.