The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (French : Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Dutch : Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België) are a group of art museums in Brussels, Belgium.
The Royal Museums contains over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which date from the early 15th century to the present.
In 1845, it was decided, by Royal Decree,that a museum was to be founded with works of art of deceased and living Belgian artists. A national commission was established to select important works of art. The first president of the commission was the Count de Beaufort. Other members were:
Many of the founding members were active in the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.
The museums are situated in the downtown Royal District, on the Coudenberg, in Brussels. There are six museums connected with the Royal Museums; two of them are located in the main building – the Oldmasters Museum or Museum of Ancient Art, whose collections cover European art until 1750, and the Museum of Modern Art. The Magritte Museum, opened in 2009, and Fin-de-Siècle Museum, opened in 2013, are adjacent to the main building.The smaller Constantin Meunier Museum and the Antoine Wiertz Museum, dedicated to these two Belgian artists, are located a few kilometers from the city centre.
The museum has an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. The bulk of the collection is formed around Flemish painting, presented in chronological order. For example, there are valuable panels by the Flemish Primitives (including Bruegel, Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin (the Master of Flémalle), Hieronymus Bosch, 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 Bruegel, is located there and forms the subject of W. H. Auden's famous poem "Musée des Beaux Arts", named after the museum. There are also constant temporary exhibitions.
The museum has one of the richest collections of paintings by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. Inaugurated on 20 May 2009, the Magritte Museum opened on 2 June 2009.
Inaugurated on 6 December 2013, the museum presents collections of artists such as Constantin Meunier, James Ensor, Henri Evenepoel, Fernand Khnopff, Leon Spilliaert, Jusepe de Ribera, Jacques-Louis David and George Minne.
The life and work of Antoine Wiertz are honored in the painter's former studio, in the heart of the Leopold Quarter. This unique museum offers a striking view of the monumental paintings, statues and sketches marked by the Belgian romantic movement.
Located in the former house and workshop of Constantin Meunier, the museum houses 150 works and documents by the realist painter and sculptor.
The chief curators or directors of the museum have been:
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 the building was one part of the king's vast construction projects 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.Alongside the western face of the building is a sculpture park, with works by Aristide Maillol, Emilio Greco, Paul Hanrez and Bernhard Heiliger.
"Musée des Beaux Arts" is a poem written by W. H. Auden in December 1938 while he was staying in Brussels, Belgium, with Christopher Isherwood. It was first published under the title "Palais des beaux arts" in the Spring 1939 issue of New Writing, a modernist magazine edited by John Lehmann. It next appeared in the collected volume of verse Another Time, which was followed four months later by the English edition. The poem's title derives from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels, famous for its collection of Early Netherlandish painting. Auden visited the Musée and would have seen a number of works by the "Old Masters" of his second line, including Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
Constantin Meunier was a Belgian painter and sculptor. He made an important contribution to the development of modern art by elevating the image of the industrial worker, docker and miner to an icon of modernity. His work is a reflection of the industrial, social and political developments of his day and represents a compassionate and committed view of man and the world.
Charles van der Stappen, was a Belgian sculptor, born in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.
The Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts - École supérieure des Arts de la Ville de Bruxelles (ARBA-ESA), in Dutch Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Brussel, is the Belgian art school, established in Brussels in the Kingdom of Belgium. It was founded in 1711. At the beginning housed in a single room in the city hall, in 1876 the school moved to a former convent and orphanage in the Rue du Midi, rehabilitated by the architect Pierre-Victor Jamaer, where the school still operates.
Martin Lawrence Galleries was founded in 1975 and operates 9 fine art galleries in the United States specializing in original paintings, sculpture and limited edition graphics.
Le génie du mal (or The Genius of Evil or The spirit of evil, known informally in English as Lucifer or The Lucifer of Liège is a religious sculpture executed in white marble and installed in 1848 by the Belgian artist Guillaume Geefs. Francophone art historians often refer to the figure as an ange déchu, a "fallen angel".
Paul Bouré or Paul-Joseph Bouré was a Belgian artist. Poised to become one of the most notable sculptors of his time, he died at the age of 25.
Hippolyte Emmanuel Boulenger was a Belgian landscape painter influenced by the French Barbizon school, considered to be "the Belgian Corot".
Evelyne Axell was a Belgian Pop painter. She is best known for her psychedelic, erotic paintings of female nudes and self-portraits on plexiglas that blend the hedonistic and Pop impulses of the 1960s. Elements of the 1960s—the Vietnam War, the Black Panthers movement, and the sexual liberation of women affected her work.
Antoine-Félix Bouré, known in his own time as Félix Bouré but sometimes found in modern scholarship as Antoine Bouré, was a Belgian sculptor, best known for his monumental lions.
Éliane Georgette Diane de Meuse was a Belgian painter. She was the wife of Max Van Dyck. They met at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels where they attended the courses of the same professors.
Louis Dubois (1830-1880) was a Belgian painter who specialized in landscapes and portraits in a naturalistic style. He also painted genre and still-life subjects.
Despite its size, Belgium has a long and distinguished artistic tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages, considerably pre-dating the foundation of the current state in 1830. Art from the areas making up modern Belgium is called in English Netherlandish up to the separation with the Netherlands from 1570 on, and Flemish until the 18th century.
Joseph Jaquet, sometimes written Joseph Jacquet, was a Belgian sculptor.
Michel Draguet is a Belgian art historian, professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles, and the director and CEO of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium since May 2005. Draguet is a member of the board of the federal administration for science: the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).
Lucie Jacquart (1882–1956) was a Belgian artist who lived and worked in Brussels. She is known for her still life paintings. Her work 'White Azalea' is in the collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, and other works are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Ghent) and of the Belgian state.
The Greeks and the Trojans Fighting over the Body of Patroclus is an oil painting by Antoine Wiertz. Several versions of the painting exist. The first was made in year 1836.
The Fin-de-Siècle Museum is a museum in Brussels, Belgium, dedicated to the full spectrum of the arts of the period between 1884, when the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts was founded Brussels, and 1914, the year of the outbreak of World War I. It is one of the constituent museums of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The museum opened on 6 December 2013.
Charles Hermans was a Belgian painter of genre scenes, portraits, landscapes and some still lifes. Through a number of his monumental genre paintings he played an important role in the recognition of Realism in Belgian art.
Le Joueur Secret is a 1927 painting by the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte. The canvas executed by the Belgian painter René Magritte in 1927. This surreal oil on canvas mainly depicts two baseball players at the foot of giant bowling pins and under a black leatherback turtle floating in the air. The work is part of the collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, it is kept at the Magritte Museum in Brussels. The painting was included in the exhibition "Mystery of the Ordinary 1926–1938" co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, and The Art Institute of Chicago which was displayed at all three respective venues.
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