Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts

Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts (31)

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts are located in the vicinity of the Place Royale. They comprise two palatial buildings that contain Belgium’s most important collection of art. One of the buildings houses the Museum of Ancient Art, while the other is the site of the Museum of Modern Art.

The larger of the two, and the one that contains most works, is the Museum of Ancient Art, located inside a Neo-classical style building, constructed by Alphonse Balat between 1874 and 1880. You will notice that its facade is decorated with a series of Corinthian columns and statues that symbolise Music, Architecture, Sculpture and Painting. In addition, above the doors there are some figures that represent the Flemish artists Rubens and Giambologna, and architect Jan Van Ruysbroeck.

It is nonetheless a fact that the Museum of Ancient Art was founded, as such, a long time beforehand, at the end of eighteenth century to be exact, as a result of an exhibition held in the rooms of the old Palace of Charles of Lorraine. Later, in 1801, Napoleon himself formally established the museum in order to offload the accumulation of works from the Paris Louvre. 

You can currently find an exhibition of over 2,500 works here, noteworthy among which are those by the great Dutch painters of the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Van Ruysdael. Likewise, you will also encounter significant works of Flemish painting, notably by Van Eyck and Brueghel the Elder. Do not forget, either, to look at the exquisite creations by painters such as Rubens and Van Dyck. 

The Museum of Modern Art, for its part, opened in 1984 and is particularly striking for its architectural structure, as eight of the floors of the building are underground. There is no need for concern, however, as a skylight illuminates every level and you can therefore observe the works in natural light. 

Here you will find exhibitions of painting, sculpture and drawing from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. You may admire the creations of such exceptional artists as Gauguin or Dalí. The most interesting part, however, is undoubtedly the area that features works by the Belgian surrealists Magritte and Delvaux. Do not hesitate to immerse yourself unhurriedly in this marvellous, historical museum. 

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