Calling all Kandinsky fans! If you’re quick, you might just make it to the last few days of a rather special exhibition currently taking place at the Fine Arts or ‘Musée Oldmasters Museum’ (to give it its official title) in Brussels, devoted to one Wassily Kandinsky and his peers. Entitled ‘Kandinsky & Russia: To the Origins of Abstract Art’ the collections brings together more than 150 works of art from renowned Russian museums, in which the work of Kandinsky (some 50 paintings) is showcased alongside that of Larionov and Malévich.
Divided into four distinct areas – Experiencing the art of painting; Listening to the art of painting; Amidst nature; Kandinsky and mythology – this is the first time in 100 years that the work of Kandinsky has been exhibited in Belgium and shows the artistic and intellectual complexity of a true genius whose inspiration came from all manner of sources, be it German metaphysics, Greek culture or the Russian symbolist movement.
If you don’t manage to make it in time for the exhibition, the museum’s permanent collection is still well worth a visit as it plays host to some of the greatest works from the Lowlands. Founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it houses a vast and impressive collection of 15th to 18th-century paintings, sculptures and drawings, the majority of which were confiscated from the aristocracy during the French Revolution and deposited in Brussels by the French State. Paintings from the great Flemish Schools form the majority of the collection, and include works by Brueghel, van Dyck, Jordaens and, of course, Rubens.
If you’re travelling to Brussels over the summer, also currently on at the Musée Oldmasters Museum (until August 11th) is another exhibition entitled ‘Gustave Courbet and Belgium’, devoted to the work of this artist in Belgium during the period 1850 – 1870. This focus exhibition is centred round six paintings of Courbet from the museum’s own collection and is complemented by a further twenty paintings, drawings and documents by other Belgian Realist painters.
The museum is open from 10am to 5pm (closed Monday) and entrance varies according to the day on which you visit. As it’s the last few days however for Kandinsky, expect demand to be high!