Historical exhibition: meet the Flemish masters

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A new historical art experience has opened in the Dynasty Palace in Brussels to showcase the art of three major Flemish masters – Pieter Bruegel, Jan Van Eyck and Peter Paul Rubens

Pieter Bruegel the Elder barely had time to pack up his easel when he had to hand over the Dynasty Palace in Brussels to three other Flemish masters. In this new, innovative art experience, you will meet the three great masters of Flemish painting Jan Van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel and Peter Paul Rubens. Although each lived and painted in a different century, they will be rubbing elbows in Brussels. Thanks to the latest video mapping techniques and 360° projections, Meet The Masters offers a dazzling exhibition in which the artists truly appear to come to life.

For an entire year, the Dynasty Palace in Brussels hosted a multimedia exhibition on Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Over 60,000 visitors from around the world were transported back to the 16th century to experience the astonishing world of Bruegel. Now it’s the turn of the trio of Jan Van Eyck, Pieter Bruegel and Peter Paul Rubens.

The three artists will welcome you into their studios, where their artworks truly come to life as you listen to their stories. The use of high-tech imagery, video-mapping and 360° projections makes it possible to zoom in on impressive details. Through an immersive audio experience, and thanks to the audio guide created by art historians and experts who extensively studied the literature and publications for both adults and children, you will gain an understanding of their great talents and methods of working.

The soundscape, the expertly compiled historical background, the storyline and the many special effects make it seem like you are really a part of the world in which they lived. In the final room of the exhibition, the large auditorium, the three Old Masters meet each other in the castle of Peter Paul Rubens.

This new exhibition was commissioned by Toerisme Vlaanderen (Tourism Flanders). The success of the Beyond Bruegel exhibition clearly demonstrated the added value of innovative art experiences. Collaborators on the project include CREATE.eu, a Ghent-based multimedia company that uses the latest technologies to create stunning digital art projects, and Congé, which develops creative ideas and implements them in unique locations. They are known for the food market Mercado and the creative hub Meatpack, but especially for Plein Publiek in Antwerp and Brussels. Locations where catering, events and culture are a major component. Duvel Moortgat is a concessionaire and permanent partner of CREATE.eu and the non-profit Congé. And at Plein Publiek BXL, you can taste Duvel on tap – that’s pretty unique, because it’s something you won’t find in many places in Belgium. The Public Buildings Authority, owner of the Brussels Dynasty Palace, has granted them the opportunity to stay in the building longer than initially planned.

I you would like to see the exhibition in person, you will be required to follow the health and safety guidelines. Tours will be limited to 45 minutes, and all visitors must wear a mask. There will be a limited number of visitors allowed in, with a maximum on 20 per floor.

Pieter Bruegel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder is largely responsible for the creation of Flanders’ national psyche and collective consciousness as hard working yet bon vivant. In Flanders, you can still find the beautiful landscapes, picturesque villages and the ‘joie de vivre’ that Bruegel painted so beautifully. But Flanders and the works of Bruegel are much more than that.

While very little is known about the life of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, much can be deduced by studying his paintings and by looking back at the times he lived in. He was a highly inventive artist, who profoundly influenced the imaginations and perceptions of succeeding generations.

Jan Van Eyck

Since its completion in 1432, millions of visitors from all over the world have travelled to Ghent to admire the altarpiece ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’ by Jan and Hubert van Eyck. But for more than four hundred years, we haven’t actually been looking at the real Van Eyck, but at layers and layers of paint on top of the real thing. In 2020, the restored altarpiece is finally coming home to the Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent. There is simply no valid excuse in the world to miss the chance to see this iconic and legendary masterpiece.

With his precise observation and natural rendering of reality, his brilliant use of colours and mastery of oils – a technique he perfected – Van Eyck took painting to new heights. His employer, the Duke of Burgundy (Philip the Good), ensured that he was well paid and able to paint “whenever he pleased”. He was also asked to handle a number of diplomatic visits, including one to Lisbon in 1428 to arrange the Duke’s forthcoming marriage with Isabella of Portugal.

Jan’s most famous creation is the Ghent Altarpiece “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”, made for Saint Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent. It is a 12-panel polyptych that he worked on together with his older brother Hubert, also a painter. Jan finished the commission in 1432 following Hubert’s death in 1426. It was the most famous oil painting of the epoch.

Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens is widely known as a successful artist, but he was also an esteemed diplomat, polyglot and art collector. His brilliant spirit lives on in the city of Antwerp today, not just in its baroque paintings and architecture, but also as an inspiration for contemporary artists. In 2018, the city of Antwerp will celebrate its baroque cultural heritage and the Baroque lifestyle that is undeniably part of the city’s DNA.

Rubens was born in 1577 in Siegen (in present-day Germany), but soon moved to Antwerp with his mother after his father died when he was young. It was there that he learnt to paint, taking instruction from artists such as Tobias Verhaecht, Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen.

Antwerp is the only city in the world to be so permeated in every respect by Peter Paul Rubens and his baroque legacy. “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires” is an opportunity to experience Rubens and baroque in many intense and unique ways.

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