Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts Belgique 1101.jpg
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is located in Brussels
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Location within Brussels
Established 1803
Location Brussels, Belgium
Coordinates 50°50′31″N 4°21′28″E / 50.841944°N 4.357778°E / 50.841944; 4.357778
Type Art museum
View on the upper floor

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Dutch: Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België, French: Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique) are a group of art museums in Brussels, Belgium.


In 1845 it is decided by royal Decree[1] that a museum is to be founded with works of art of deceased and living Belgian artists. A national commission is founded to select important works of art. The first president of the commisssion is the Count de Beaufort. Other members are:

Many of the founder members were active in the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.

The museum[edit]

The museums are situated in the capital Brussels in the downtown area on the Coudenberg. There are six museums connected with the Royal Museum, and two of them are in the main building. These are the Oldmasters Museum or "Museum of Ancient Art", covering up to 1750, and the Museum of Modern Art, Brussels. The Magritte Museum, opened in 2009, and Fin-de-Siècle Museum, opened in 2013, are adjacent to the main building[2][3] The Constantin Meunier Museum and the Antoine Wiertz Museum are dedicated to specific Belgian artists, are much smaller, and are located a few kilometers from the city center.

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 painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, long-attributed to Bruegel, is located here and forms the subject of W. H. Auden's famous poem "Musée des Beaux Arts", named after the museum.

There are constant changing exhibitions.


The chief curators or directors of the museum have been:

The building[edit]

The main building which now houses the Museum of Ancient Art was built as the Palais des Beaux-Arts, designed by Belgian architect Alphonse Balat and funded by King Leopold II. Balat was the king's principal architect, and this was one part of the king's vast building program for Belgium. The building was completed in 1887, and stands as an example of the Beaux-Arts architecture use of themed statuary to assert the identity and meaning of the building.[4]

The extensive program of architectural sculpture includes the four figures of Music, Architecture, Sculpture, and Painting atop the four main piers, the work of sculptors Égide Mélot (fr), Joseph Geefs, Louis Samain, and Guillaume de Groot respectively. The finial, gilded Genius of Art was also designed by de Groot. The three rondels of Rubens, van Ruysbroek, and Jean de Bologne, who represent Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture, are the work of Antoine-Joseph van Rasbourgh, Antoine-Félix Bouré and Jean Cuypers. The two bas-relief panels are Music by Thomas Vincotte and Industrial Arts by Charles Brunin. The two bronze groups on pedestals represent The Crowning of Art by Paul de Vigne, and The Teaching of Art by Charles van der Stappen.[5]

On the side of the building, a memorial commemorates five members of the Mouvement National Royaliste, a resistance group, killed during the liberation of Brussels on 3–4 September 1944.[6]

Alongside the West face of the building is a sculpture park, with works by Aristide Maillol, Emilio Greco, Paul Hanrez and Bernhard Heiliger.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Het Handelsblad, 3 December 1845
  2. ^ "Museums - Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium". Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Trend, Nick (6 December 2013). "Brussels: Inside the new Musée Fin-de-Siècle". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  4. ^ accessed 9/1/10
  5. ^ Chronique d'un musée: Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, Bruxelles By Franc̜oise Roberts-Jones, page 41
  6. ^ "Monument: National Royalists Monument". Brussels Remembers. Archived from the original on 2013-04-19. 

External links[edit]