Looking for a little boost to fight the seasonal blues? Some colour, warmth and a little summer twist to tide you over until the spring? This year, on Blue Monday, we offer our selection of colourful escapes through the collections of Brussels' museums. Exotic landscapes, fantasy worlds, trips to the sea, sunny paintings and objects that invite you to travel... The pieces in Brussels' museums provide countless opportunities to warm up your body and mind! Browse our ideas to spice up your winter!
RENE MAGRITTE MUSEUM – MUSEUM OF ABSTRACT ART
In need of vitamin D? This "Abstraction" with impressionist touches perfectly illustrates the love that Joseph Lacasse, a painter from Tournai, has for light. Despite being relatively unknown, he offers up abstract work of great quality. The lyricism of matter and colour bursts forth in this sunny canvas, which also contains lines of force and structure.
WHERE? : Museum of Abstract Art
Key: Joseph Lacasse, Abstraction, oil on canvas, ca. 1960, Coll. René Magritte Museum - Museum of Abstract Art, Jette-Brussels Courtesy of Joseph Lacasse Estate
What better way to escape than in a car with colourful accents? This Art Car is called "The Blue Journey" and was decorated by Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon at the request of Toyota Belgium during the 1986 Brussels Motor Show. For the artist, the car represents freedom. He added a touch of fantasy by installing a family of birds that appear to be travelling in the footsteps of Lewis Carroll as he imagines Alice in Wonderland.
WHERE?: Autoworld Brussels
Key: Jean-Michel Folon, Toyota Land Cruiser, 1986 © Autoworld Brussels
CENTRALE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
This installation by Elena El Asmar is composed of glass forms covered with black mesh. This horizon evoking the architecture of an oriental city is topped by a painted work suggesting a starry sky. The artist creates landscapes inspired by the stories her Lebanese father used to tell her. "L'esercizio del lontano" (The exercise of the distant), sublimates everyday objects while evoking the artist's origins and symbolising her relationship to distance and temporality.
WHERE? : Visible at the La Vie Matérielle temporary exhibition at LA CENTRALE for contemporary art, until 13/03/2022.
Key: A view of the La Vie Matérielle exhibition, Elena El Asmar, L’esercizio del lontano, 2010-2021, Courtesy of the artist, CENTRALE | hall © Ph : Philippe De Gobert, 2021
MUSEUM OF FANTASTIC ART
From the "Biocénose Fantaisiste" series, this work is characteristic of the work of Daub-o-graphic, a lover of collages and superimposed images. His works evoke an imaginary and hybrid bestiary. Here, the mixture of elements evoking animals, plants and the decorative, takes us to far-away lands. The spectator, free to invent creatures according to his or her fantasies, is invited to enter a universe that one can already imagine to be even more vast…
WHERE?: Museum of Fantastic Art
Key: Daub-o-graphic, Rutting stag / Cervus elaphus lentus, 2021, Digital collage
Here is an oil painting on wood that makes you want to hit the road! The main scene of this painting, attributed to Antwerp painter Cornelis Metsys, is based on an episode from the Gospel of Matthew: Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, fearing the wrath of King Herod, flee Bethlehem to seek refuge in Egypt. The composition plunges us into the heart of a green, summery landscape. In the background is a superb atmospheric perspective that invites us to relax in the great outdoors.
WHERE? : Erasmus House
Key: Cornelis Metsys, Landscape with the Flight to Egypt, circa 1510 – 1556, © Erasmus House
THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS MUSEUM
The 'braguinha' is a stringed instrument of the bandola family, very popular in Portugal and Brazil. With its beautiful fish shape, it evokes the sea and long days of idleness on the beach. In fact, this example comes from Funchal, a port city on the island of Madeira, a real floating jewel that is known as the pearl of the Atlantic. A destination to add to your wish list immediately, in anticipation of future escapades!
WHERE? : The Musical Instruments Museum
Key: Braguinha, Augusto M. Da Costa, Funchal (Madeira, Portugal), 1898.
THE ROYAL MUSEUMS OF FINE ARTS OF BELGIUM
Ah, the invigorating spray of the seaside! The mere mention of it gives us a real boost! In this canvas painted during a trip to Brittany, Anna Boch mixes realistic strokes with light touches that border on impressionism. The wildness of the cliffs contrasts beautifully with her depiction of the sky and the water. Solidity and finesse are the hallmarks of this painter who has won the admiration of her colleagues.
WHERE? : Musée Fin-de-siècle Museum
Key: Anna Boch, Brittany coast, circa 1901, oil on canvas / photo: J. Geleyns - Art Photography
THE BELVUE MUSEUM
Can you imagine a holiday without a camera around your neck? In 1889, Lieven Gevaert began his career as a portrait photographer, but he wasn't all that keen and gradually devoted himself to the production of quality photo paper. His paper quickly became very popular and orders poured in from Belgium and abroad. This vintage billboard reminds us that it is also possible to escape by leafing through our old photo albums!
WHERE? : The BELvue Museum
Key: Advertising billboard for Gevaert, photography paper and Gevabox equipment, Don Guy Kokken, Mortsel 1945–1960
If you want to travel the right way, you must first take care to pack your luggage properly! This red leather travel case, lined with beige velvet, contains a luxurious silver, ivory and porcelain hot chocolate set. Used by the nobility in the 19th and early 20th century, it guaranteed the owner a quality hot chocolate while travelling. It's a genuine invitation to physical and gastronomic escapism!
WHERE?: Choco Story Brussels
Key: Travel case; La maison Boin-Taburet, 19th century © Choco Story Brussels
ART AND HISTORY MUSEUM
Escaping our everyday lives also means taking time for ourselves and regaining an inner piece, just like this statue of a Buddhist monk, represented with his hands joined in front of his chest. A gesture of offering in Buddhist iconography, this posture is called anjali-mudra. It is still a gesture of greeting in India and South East Asia.
WHERE? : The Art and History Museum
Key: Buddhist Monk (bhiksu), Thailand, 16th century, lacquered and gold-coated bronze
Are you looking for a change of scenery now more than ever? The Halle Gate is your gateway to the world of miniature theatre and its many variations. A magical world of paper, which, like the backdrop evoking the pyramids of Egypt, is inspired either by everyday life and the world of fairy tales and evokes exotic lands.
WHERE? : Visible during the Magical Theatres temporary exhibition at Halle Gate, until 04/12/2022
Key: The pyramids of Egypt (Background decor), P. Dousinelle, Pellerin & Co 1899, Lithography. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium collections
Imagined in a monochrome of blues and whites, this poster was created for the play "La Princesse Maleine" by Maurice Maeterlinck at the Théâtre National de Belgique in 1988. With a certain melancholy, it takes us to the heart of the fabulous lands imagined by François Schuiten, who reworked the poster to mark the play's 100th anniversary.
WHERE? : Autrique House
Key: François Schuiten, Poster for the play La Princesse Maleine, 1988