Over the next two weeks, the walls of Brussels Central station will become the canvas for works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who died 450 years ago. The display is the work of Toerisme Vlaanderen, as a tribute to the artist and father of artists, who was born in or around Breda, and died after spending the latter part of his life in Brussels, at a time when both cities were part of the Duchy of Brabant in the Hapsburg Netherlands.
Breugel is considered one of the most important and influential artists of the Golden Age of Dutch painting, not least because he helped steer art away from religious subjects to scenes of more commonplace daily life. Bruegel significantly never painted a portrait of rich patrons, but is now famous for scenes of peasant life like The Peasant Wedding and Children’s Games. He also painted allegorical works like Dulle Griet, a figure from Flemish folklore who leads an army of women to attack Hell, and landscapes like Hunters in the Snow.
Dulle Griet herself appears on the station staircase (photo), while a landscape scene is seen through the window of a half-open train compartment installed on the station concourse.
Toerisme Vlaanderen invested 30,000 euros in the display, which forms part of the region’s three-year celebration of the Flemish Masters – Rubens and Van Dyck as well as Bruegel.
Elsewhere in Brussels, visitors to the Chapelle at the edge of the Marolles can hunt for figures taken from Bruegel’s paintings, as well as exhibits in the Fine Arts Museum and Bozar. In Flanders, meanwhile, there are exhibitions in the open air museum at Bokrijk in Limburg, as well as M Museum in Leuven and Gaasbeek castle in Flemish Brabant.
The rail authority SNCB, as well as transforming Central station, is also offering train-expo combi-tickets for Bokrijk and for the exhibition of prints in Bozar.