Hidden Belgium: The reclusive Roger Raveel

Hidden Belgium: The reclusive Roger Raveel

You might sometimes be the only person wandering around the Roger Raveel Museum. But it's worth making a trip to the sleepy village of Machelen-aan-de-Leie where the artist Roger Raveel spent his life.

The museum is a stunning modern building by the architect Stéphane Beel joined to a former parsonage where temporary exhibitions are held in a warren of little rooms.

Raveel was an unconventional artist who created paintings incorporating chicken wire, mirrors, window frames and bicycle wheels. He even occasionally incorporated caged yellow songbirds into his works.

A short walk from the museum brings you to the cemetery where his grave is marked by a simple flat stone. His wife, who died a few years before him, has a more impressive memorial overlooked by an enigmatic male sculpture with a mirror embedded in his stomach.

The cemetery stands near a cut off bend in the old river Leie that would have been filled in if Raveel had not organised a protest.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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