Bruegel. The Originals BRUEGEL in the spotlights at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, 450 years after his death

Published on 09.09.2019

Exactly 450 years ago Pieter Bruegel the Elder died in Brussels. From Sunday 15 September 2019, "Bruegel. The Originals" will put this iconic artist even more in the spotlights at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (RMFAB), which houses the second largest collection of paintings by Bruegel the Elder in the world.

The RMFAB have plenty of projects in store before the end of the Bruegel Year 2019. This week, the paintings by the master will be re-hung in the completely renovated Bruegel Room. The original works are now all safe in “climate boxes” to protect the fragile panels from the outside air.

A Bruegel family trail ("Destination Bruegel"), especially created for this anniversary, takes young and old on a quest through the Museum,  exploring the artworks by Bruegel and some of his predecessors with hand-on activities. The visitors are also plunged into Bruegel's universe through a range of digital experiences, including the immersive "Bruegel Box", to which two new videos about the winter scenes at the RMFAB were added for this occasion. A new audio route through the Old Masters Museum was also mapped out. With 15 listening points and a visitor's guide, everyone can (re)discover the original Bruegel works, but also the sources of inspiration and the followers of the Renaissance master.

With "Bruegel. The Originals", the RMFAB aim to encourage the national and international visitors to take a closer look at Bruegel's original works and to interact with them. "Bruegel's paintings are also called conversation pieces," says Tine Meganck, Bruegel's expert at the RMFAB. "They encourage contemplation and reflection, but also conversation and discussion between spectators – a precious commodity in the polarising society in which Bruegel lived and worked, and just as relevant today.

International outreach

From 10 tot to 16 September 2019, Bruegel fans in Tokyo will be able to virtually discover Bruegel's masterpieces in the RMFAB's "Bruegel Box", which will be shown outside Belgium for the first time. Even before the opening, the Japanese press was particularly enthusiastic about the innovative concept.

From 26 to 28 September 2019, the RMFAB, together with the Academia Belgica in Rome and the Università di Genova, will organise the international conference "Bruegel e l'Italia" in the Italian capital. Bruegel's rural and urban scenes incarnate the Low Countries but always transcend the local. In his hybrid landscapes, Alpine rock formations often appear, as Bruegel observed them on his journey to and from Italy (1552-1554). The conference aims to re-evaluate Bruegel's encounter and dialogue with Italy from a broad cultural-historical perspective and in light of the most recent research.

Activities around Bruegel

Within the context of the Bruegel commemorations, the RMFAB propose a large range of activities and projects such as: the 2nd edition of the book "The Fall of the Rebel Angels" (Silvana Editoriale, Sept 2019, now also in Dutch and French); guided tours for groups, schools as well as for the blind and visually impaired; and performances by contemporary artist Samah Hijawi (4-5.12.2019).


These projects have been realized thanks to the financial support of Visit Flanders.