Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique-Moderne

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by melissa_bel on August 23, 2004

After the Painting of "Marat assassiné" the Modern Arts part of the museum begins, covering the 19th century until now. The second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th being particularly well represented, especially the symbolic and surrealistic movements that were quite big in Brussels.

Amongst the highlights: James Ensor and his witty and ironic paintings with the recurring figures of the skeletons and masks, Fernand Khnopff's "L'Art", the luminous paintings of Rik Wouters, the moving and monumental subjects of Constant Permeke, the playful sculpture of Pol Bury, the poetry of Paul Delvaux known for his oniric subjects mixing naked women and tramways (he has own room and apart from "La voix publique", my favourite is the "Crucifixion," a biblical scene with a twist as all subjects are skeletons!)...
But the main reason for a lot of art lovers to come to Brussels' Modern Arts Museum is the Magritte room. The museum has the largest collection of Magritte paintings, a master of the surrealism movement. Amongst them, my personal favourite: "L'empire des lumieres" which is a perfect representation of what Magritte was all about: taking everyday objects and mixing them or putting them into an environment where this object is out of place or disturbing (in this case, the sky is painted as it would be during the day, and the house and trees are in the dark).

The COBRA (Copenhaguen, Brussels, Amsterdam) is well represented too with leading artists Pierre Alechensky and Asger Jorn).

Of course, you'll find "the big names" such as Monet, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Chagall, even Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, who spent a great deal of time in Knokke, a seaside resort town on the Belgian coast. By the time you'll get to the "installation room" (at the end of the museum itinerary), you will be exhausted.

The sculptures are not forgotten either as the museum has a sculpture garden. One of my favourite (inside the museum) is a statue by Joseph Geefz called "Le genie du Mal" ("the genie of Evil") that was originally ordered for a cathedral but was removed quickly not being Christian enough. Indeed, this incarnation of evil is represented as a beautiful youth, a fallen angel, that brings more feelings of fascination than repulsion.

The museum is open from 10 AM to 5 PM. A regular ticket is 5 euros but every first Wednesday afternoon of the month, it's free! They also have a gift shop and a cafeteria (which will be useful because you'll need a break!)

You can visit the museum virtually by going to for an overview and for the (almost) whole catalogue.

Museum voor Moderne Kunst
Koningsplein 1-2 Place Royale
Brussels, Belgium, 1000
+32 2 508 33 33

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