Museum of Ancient Art, Brussels

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  • "La fillette à l'oiseau mort" Juan de...
    by breughel
  • Lamentation (detail) by Petrus Christus.
    Lamentation (detail) by Petrus Christus.
    by breughel
  • My favored Rubens: Landscape with Castel of Steen.
    My favored Rubens: Landscape with Castel...
    by breughel
  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The marvelous "FLEMISH PRIMITIVES".

    by breughel Updated Feb 27, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Antoine de Bourgogne by Rogier Van der Weyden.
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    The Museum Of Ancient Art (Old Masters Museum) is part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (MRBAB) and is one of the best European ancient paintings museums. The circuit starts with the precious panels of Primitive Flemish artists of the 15th century.
    I have often observed outside Belgium that there is confusion between Flemish and Dutch painters what I would like to clarify.
    There are indeed museums who mention "Early Netherlandish", "Southern Netherlandish" for painters who belong to the Flemish school, the so called "Flemish Primitives". The reference to the Netherlands is correct from a geo-political point of view when Belgium and the present Netherlands were united until the end of the 16th century, when separation occurred between the southern Catholic provinces and the northern independent Calvinist republic.
    But from a point of view of art the term "Netherlandish" is misleading as this Flemish school of the 15th century can not be mixed with the Dutch school reaching her summit in the 17th century with Vermeer and Rembrandt.
    The correct term of "Primitifs Flamands" appeared in 1902 at an exhibition in Bruges. The Flemish "Primitives" had nothing of primitive but were in fact revolutionary pioneers by developing space and perspective in the pictorial art.
    The great names of this school are the brothers Van Eyck, Le Maître de Flémalle (= Robert Campin?), Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Thierry Bouts, Juste de Gand, Hugo van der Goes, Jérôme Bosch, Hans Memlinc, Gerard David.
    Some of these painters were born in the present Holland like Jerome Bosch and Thierry Bouts but worked in the southern provinces, or were from Tournai in the present Walloon part of Belgium.
    The Flemish art of the 15th c. had a great influence in other countries, Germany, Italy, Holland, France and especially Spain.

    One might think that the Flemish Primitives did only paint religious subjects. Not at all, the portraits were very important; more than 500 have reached us.
    I felt in love with a beautiful portrait, attributed to Juan de Flandes a Flemish painter who worked at the court of Isabella I of Castile in Spain, "La fillette à l'oiseau mort", a painting which by itself justifies a trip to the Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels. The death bird might mean that the melancholic little girl died when she was young.

    Opening hours (2014):
    Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ticket office closes at 4.30 p.m.)
    Closed on Mondays, January 1, second Thursday of January, May 1, November 1 and 11, December 25.
    Entrance fee: 8 €. Reduced seniors 6 €, 25 yr 2 €.
    Combined ticket Magritte, Modern, Oldmasters, Fin-de-Siècle: 13 €; reduced 9 or 3 €.
    Audioguide (FR, NL, EN, D) 4 €
    Free on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month.

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    Aimez vous Rubens - Do you like Rubens?

    by breughel Updated Nov 10, 2012

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    Rubens
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    Actually I am not a fan of Rubens because most of his numerous paintings are religious and mythological compositions which are not my favoured subjects. As a matter of fact my favoured paintings of Rubens are the "Lion Hunt", in Munich and "Landscape with the Castel of Steen" (photo 3), in London.

    But it is impossible to visit any ancient art museum without seeing some Rubens; so for the museum in Brussels.
    Rubens is by no doubt a leading figure of the baroque art with his dynamism, vitality, and sensuous exuberance. His work combines the traditions of Flemish realism with the classical tendencies of the Italian Renaissance.
    This sensuous exuberance is most visible when he paints nudes. I wonder if the women of Antwerp in his time were as fleshy as his models but it seems that Rubens did not like anorexic women.

    He was at the head of a workshop and Rubens's personal contribution to the over 2.000 works produced by this studio varied considerably from work to work.
    Most of his assistants were remarkable painters by themselves and had their specialities: figures for Van Dyck and Jordaens, animals for Frans Snyders, landscapes and flowers for Jan Brueghel "Velvet".

    The museum of Brussels displays some good religious compositions such as the "Martyr of St Livinius", "Madonna with Myosotis" (photo 1) with Jan Brueghel "Velvet" for the flowers, and the "Road to Calvary" which are typical of the Counter-Reformation movement of which Rubens was one of the leading artists.
    But best known in Belgium is the study "Têtes de Nègres" (photo 2) which in the past decorated a banknote of 500 BEF (now = 12,40 €; but with 500 BEF you could in that time (1950-60) buy what costs now 50 € !)

    What I like with Rubens is that he was not only a painter but also a scholar, humanist, classicist, architect, an effective ambassador and family man. He was even said to be the richest man of Antwerp; what a difference with Rembrandt at the end of his life!

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Some More Art

    by von.otter Updated May 1, 2012

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Bruxelles, May 2011
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    “Poor Charles X is dead. … History will state that Louis XVIII was a most liberal monarch, reigning with great mildness and justice to his end, but that his brother, from his despotic and harsh disposition, upset all the other had done and lost the throne. Louis XVIII was a clever, hard-hearted man, shackled by no principle, very proud and false. Charles X an honest man, a kind friend …”
    — from a 18.November.1836 letter to Princess Victoria (later queen) from her uncle, Leopold I, king of the Belgians

    Guillaume Geefs (1805-1883) carved what is considered one of the most important works of public art in Belgium. That work, “Leopold I,” was featured on a Belgian stamp issued in 1981; it commemorates the 150th founding of the Kingdom of Belgium. This white marble sculpture of the king stands at the center of the Great Hall of Museum of Ancient Art.

    Geefs also sculpted the bronze likeness of Leopold that stands atop the Congress Column (in French, Colonne du Congrès; in Dutch, Congreskolom). Geefs carved the effigy of the king for his tomb in Royal Vault at Church of Our Lady of Laeken.

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Interior

    by von.otter Written May 1, 2012

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Bruxelles, May 2011
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    “Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.”
    — Rene Magritte (1898-1967) Belgian Surrealist artist

    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 Museum also houses the famous painting The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David.

    If you only have time to visit one art museum, the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts (Royal Museums of Fine Arts) should be it. These combined exhibitions, the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art, house Belgium’s most extensive collection of artwork. Spend time with old masters such as Rubens, Brueghel and Van Dyck before viewing among the visions of Chagall, Van Gogh and Dalí.

    In the Great Hall of the Museum of Ancient Art paintings illustrating the Belgian’s history, including its War for Independence. An important moment in that war is captured in Gustaf Wappers’ Episode of the September Days on the Grand-Place (see photo #5).

    The Royal Museums of Fine Arts is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. Admission is about $10 USD, €8 EUR.

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Exterior

    by von.otter Updated May 1, 2012

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    Museum of Ancient Art, Bruxelles, May 2011
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    “Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.”
    — Rene Magritte (1898-1967) Belgian Surrealist artist

    In 1887, the collections of ancient art and sculpture moved to a new home, a newly constructed building designed by the royal architect Alphonse Balat, who also designed Leopold II’s Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. Like the greenhouses, the Museum of Ancient Art was funded by the king; and was part of his grand building plan, intended to bring tiny Belgium to world recognition and prestige.

    The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (in Dutch, Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, in French, Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique), are situated in the downtown area on the Coudenberg. There are four museums connected with the Royal Museum, and two of them (the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art), are in the main building. The other two (the Museum Constantin Meunier and the Antoine Wiertz Museum) are dedicated to specific Belgian artists, are much smaller, and are located at different points in the city.

    The Royal Museums of Fine Arts is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. Admission is about $10 USD, €8 EUR.

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  • roamer61's Profile Photo

    Museum of Ancient Art

    by roamer61 Updated May 23, 2005

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    This is one of Brussels great museums and its main art gallery. Here, one can see masterworks by such Belgian and Flemish masters such as Peter Bruegel, Gerard Davis and of course, Peter Paul Rubens.
    The building is shared by the Museum of Modern Art with works of the 18th Century and after.

    The painting shown is by Paul de Vos, a popular Flemish Artist famous for his hunting scenes and still lifes.

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    Museum of Modern Art

    by Imbi Written May 12, 2004

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    Next to Museum of Ancient Art, Museum of Modern Art is located. It was opened in 1984 and you could fine plenty of varieties of modern collections there. Both museums are connected via underground path. This modern museum has plenty of pieces of arts from 20th century.


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    Museum of Ancient Art

    by Imbi Written May 12, 2004

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    Museum of Ancient Art is also a part of Royal Square. It mainly contains drawing, paintings and sculptures. most of them are enormous collection of art, there is also some collection of Flemish painting from fifteenth century. It is not to be missed place in Brussels.

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