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Brussels, City of the Arts

Staircase of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts
© Alice Bounphane

From ancient to modern

Just round the Place Royale, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium inspire contemplation. A few metres from each other, linked by a single corridor, the Musée Oldmasters Museum, Royal Museums of Fine Arts (BRUXELLES)

and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts - Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum (BRUXELLES) provide a most pleasant walk.

I enjoy wandering here to admire the masterpieces of Rubens, Breughel or Jeroen Bosch. I stand astounded in the Breughel room that boasts some of the master¿s finest paintings: "The Census of Bethlehem", "The Adoration of the Magi", "The Fall of Icarus", etc.

I also learn that the collection of the 17th century Dutch painting is one of the finest in Europe... Down below, in the basements of the modern art section, I go from Fauvism to Expressionism and onto Surrealism.

In the MUSEUM OF THE 18th CENTURY IN THE PALACE OF CHARLES OF LORRAINE (BRUXELLES), works of modern art come into their own.

This time, I stroll deliberately from sculpture to sculpture: works by Wouters, Anthoons, Strebelle, Long, etc. are as pleasant as those by Miro, Dali, Boltanski or Picasso in the vicinity.

I have of course started with two temples, but the Brussels of the Arts is teeming with originals: join me to the Antoine Wierz Museum - Royal Museums for Fine Arts (IXELLES) or to the little Museum of Ixelles (IXELLES). You will not be dissappointed.

Magnificent architecture

A little later, I can¿t resist to the invitation of Victor Horta. I have the opportunity to visit the Horta Museum, an Art Nouveau gem in Brussels (SAINT-GILLES) in Saint-Gilles where every element was designed by him. The Art Nouveau (Art Nouveau in Brussels) at the turn of the century is dazzling within the smallest detail of furnishings and ornamentation. In Van de Velde, Hankar or Van Rysselberghe, I recognise other disciples. Their imagination permeates the city. I am overwhelmed by the 'Contretype Photography Museum at the Hannon House (SAINT-GILLES), the former Old England shops (now the MIM - The Musical Instruments Museum (BRUXELLES), and even more so by the Belgian Comic Strip Centre - BCSC (BRUXELLES).

Up to the 9th art

Speaking of art! In the premises of the old Waucquez textile shops (Belgian Comic Strip Centre - BCSC (BRUXELLES)), the artistic expression of Victor Horta is home to every aspect of the 9th art: the Comic Strip. In this extraordinary setting, I can get initiated to the techniques of the make-believe. Who could forget that the people of Brussels are acknowledged masters of the comic strip ?