Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels

Belgian Royal Museums of Fine Arts, fine-arts-museum.be

A visit with your own art historian, traveling in especially for you.

Mucha. In the design department in the new wing.

Join me for a visit to the Belgian Royal Museums of Fine Arts.   I will be your private professore, travelling in from Amsterdam, Holland specially for you.

Tour by Drs Kees Kaldenbach, a professional Art History scholar with excellent teaching skills. Specialist in Fine art and Design, Architecture and History. VIP entry. Entry best at from 9 or 10AM.

Please note, this is a high level offer. Practicalities: I live in Amsterdam, Holland and do NOT run a travel agency.  I do however provide Fabulous international museum tours. The plan is that you contract me for one or more days as your private ‘Professore’ and offer full transport to that city, plus hotel accommodation in the same place you will stay. We will spend quality time together in mornings and early afternoons.

 

Kvetch 1: I revisited the fine-arts-museum.be in 2018 and was utterly shocked and dismayed. The roof is leaky and water seeps in – and endangers priceless works of art. A quick estimate: over 30 works of art have been removed from the upper floor and downstairs because of water damage. Everywhere in Europe, the central paintings museum (Louvre, Prado, National Gallery Rijksmuseum) is the pride of the nation and a showcase of the best that a country has to offer. It reflects the national identity within (for residents) and out (for tourists). And therefore has a central and connecting role. But NOT so in Belgium.  Comrades, to arms! Write letters and petitions.

Kvetch 2: The lighting in the main hall is really substandard, and when looking at paintings you see yourself reflected in glass or too much sideways daylight reflects off the varnish. Oy gevalt!

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Breughel – Angels, detail

Bosch – Anthony, detail

Bosch – Tempation of Anthony triptych

Girl Asleep on Couch – all made in plastic! 2018.

Tasson – a VERY gay Hercules with lover boy

Master Rogier van der Weijden – Pieta

Rubens – Heads of a Moor / Black / Negro etc

Brueghel – Angels. One of the top 4 in the world.

Mucha – sculpture in the Art Nouveau “Eel” style as the Flemish called it, “Paling stijl”.

Bonnard – Nude

David – Mars and Venus, XXL size, one of the last works he made.

Frederic – Chalk Merchants tryptich, poverty of the downtrodden. Compare to socialist novels

Frederic – Chalk Merchants, dirt poor, barefoot in the cold mud.

 

History of the museum: In 1830, Belgium became independent from Holland, and a program for increasing identity and national pride was started, and it was decided in 1845 by Royal Decree that a museum was to be founded, with works of art of Belgian Artists.

There are now six museums under the umbrella of the fine-arts-museum.be Royal Museums, three of them interconnected in the same grand building.
The Royal Fine Art Museum owns over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings. The museum has an extensive collection of Flemish painting, including paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens. The museum also proudly shows the “Rubens Room”, with over 20 paintings by the Antwerp artist.

Belgium itself consists mainly of two language regions: Flanders and Walloon. Note that in the museum, Walloon art group is almost absent!

Brueghel, Fall of the Angels, whole

Breughel, Fall of the Angels, detail.

Jordaens, feast. The Hing Drinks

Rubens, portrait heads. Is it four times the same man?

Looking down from the painting gallery to the lower level. 2016

Brueghel, Bethlehem, detail.

The truly outstanding collections of Flemish art, called Flemish Primitives, (Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin, the Master of Flémalle), Dutch art.

Belgian applied arts design is well represented, especially the Art Nouveau period. Many departments of design show objects and jewerly.

One of the almost hidden parts of the National Museum  is the outstanding Magritte collection.

Entrance on “Art Mountain”.

Business card. The logo refers to Vermeer.

 

Overview of International tours (outside Holland).

 

A metro ride away is the Jubelpark, celebrating 100 years of statehood with  XXL museums paid for with imports from the Congo Colony. There are still conflicting feelings about the King who owned these lands: King Leopold II. He considered it his private area and gave his caretakers orders to chop off hands to keep order. As window-dressing he acted indignant about Arab slave trade.

 

We may also try and see a sculpture mural by Jef Lambeaux, in Jubelpark, which has stayed firmly and prudishly locked (not even a peep hole!) for many decades because the marble frieze was thought too erotic, too nude and exuberant. I will explain this closure: a result of hard-line Roman Catholic church influence and later also Muslim influence.

 

Tour by professional Art History scholar with excellent teaching skills. Specialist in Fine art and Design, Architecture and History. VIP entry.

Drs Kees Kaldenbach: „…he is wildly overqualified to be a guide . That is his secret… Trust me on this.” Gabe. Statement made February, 2017.