Thursday, May 27, 2010
I left Bruges this morning by train to head back to Brussels, where I also took a look around the city. It took about an hour to get to the Central train station. Brussels is an interesting and international city. I heard a lot of French conversations, which I tried hard to understand, as well as Flemish and other languages. It was also another day of mixed art sightings. I saw three museums in Brussels today, the Magritte Museum, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, which has separate museums within of Ancient and Modern Art, which is essentially the Louvre of Brussels. After purchasing the combo ticket for 3€ (I will be sad when I no longer qualify for the student or under 25 price in a few years!), I began with the Magritte museum. You take an elevator up to the top floor and then work your way down from there. There were quotes over all the walls from Magritte, some were very interesting. I also found a few paintings that I loved and would like to look up to find more information about. After the Magritte Museum I moved on to the Ancient art portion. The collection here also has many Flemish primitive art and several other famous works. One of my favorites that I came across, unexpectedly, were “The Annunciation” by the Master Flemalle or Robert Campin, which is actually the cover of my Northern Renaissance textbook and has incredible detail, especially on the blue and white vase of lilies. Other works I found were Dirk Bouts “Panneaux de la Justice de l’empeurer Otton,” Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Venus and Cupid,” and Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Fall of Icarus,” which is a painting I have always liked and did not realize was at this museum. I also saw Louis David’s famous “Death of Marat,” which is an extremely powerful painting. In the Modern Art Museum, there were many Belgian painters I had not heard of but several of which I wrote down in order to find more information on once I return to the States. Here, there was a nice Seurat, many interesting James Ensor pieces, and a few Gauguins. Both sections and the Magritte Museum were extremely interesting. I then walked to the Grand Place which is similar to a market square. The entire area is only for pedestrians so it was a very lively place to people-watch and also eat the most amazing warm Belgian waffle. The square was getting ready for a large jazz festival this weekend and an enormous stage was being set up in the middle, so the view was a little obscured, but the old buildings which are highlighted with painted gold are still very beautiful. I then made my way down to the “Mannequin-Pis,” which is the symbol of the city and had about 15 people snapping pictures in front of it. I took a few of my own and then headed back towards the Grand Place to walk around a bit more. Brussels is much different from Bruges and Ghent but had a lot to offer and I had yet another wonderful day abroad! This was my last day and I am heading back to Texas tomorrow, a little sad to leave but very excited about everything I have been able to see. I hope to return again soon!