Besides being the capital of the European Union and a city where cobblestone streets are lined with chocolate and waffle shops, Brussels has a thriving museum scene, which one should not overlook. You’ll find in-depth collections of Old Masters (Frans Hals, Bruegel, Rubens) alongside those of Magritte, at the spectacular Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, which comprises a series of inter-connected galleries and museums (via passageways) in the city center.
During a recent trip in conjunction with the city’s world-class fine art fair called BRAFA (in itself a museum-worthy fair devoted to antique and contemporary art), there was time for a visit and tour to the Royal Museums to see the Magritte & Dali exhibition. I also visited the newly opened Dutch School galleries and the Bruegel Hall, and afterwards, the Fashion and Lace Museum.
The surrealist superstar exhibit of Magritte and Dali featured 80 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, films and archival objects. Together, these works reveal the personal, philosophical and aesthetic influences of these two iconic artists. Since opening in 2009, the Magritte Museum, part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, has been recognized as having the largest collection of works by the Belgian surrealist.
For the 450th anniversary of the death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Renaissance master, the museum completed the renovation of the Bruegel Hall and added compelling museum visit highlights, including the placement of monitors with ‘Destination Bruegel’ animated videos. The best part was the installation of the Bruegel Box, which is an immersive digital universe of five HD videos about his paintings projected across the walls of an adjoining gallery.
One block from the Hotel Amigo, a famous five-star luxury hotel near the Grand Place, where taking a coffee in the afternoon is a must, is the Fashion and Lace Museum. Over the centuries, Brussels lace has garnered international renown, including in the grandest European courts. A residential townhouse is home to this spectacular museum devoted to fashion and lace.
The Lace Room is a permanent exhibition that tells visitors about the history and manufacture of this unique textile. The remarkable Brussels lace, which has now disappeared, is showcased through rare pieces from the museum's collections, while modern-day lace is presented as an artistic discipline and adornment for couture items. Through April of 2020, a new exhibition highlights the couture lace designer Carine Gilson and her exquisite, luxury handmade lace-and-silk creations.
These are only a few of the remarkable museums and galleries that await a visitor to Brussels, between bites of chocolate bonbons and hot waffles, which are available at numerous shops throughout the city!
Isabelle Kellogg's press relations career, with a speciality in travel and hospitality, enabled her to make an easy transition to journalism and write about the topics she loves.