Modern Painting in Belgium

Modern Painting in Belgium

Modern Painting in Belgium

Modern Painting in Belgium

Excerpt

It is a well-known fact in the history of art that Belgium is traditionally a country of painters. The thousands of artists who have thrived in Belgium since the Middle Ages prove that.

Art flourishes and develops where it meets with the favor of society and where it enjoys a sympathetic cultural atmosphere. Painters have always had an enviable social status in Belgium. Whenever they left their country, they attained high positions in foreign lands. Among others, this is true of J. Sustermans and G. di Bologna in Italy, Sir Anthony van Dijck in England, Philippe de Champaigne and J. Duquesnoy in France. On the other hand, Belgium is a country of humanists, antiquarians and collectors. Albert Dürer, in his notes on his trip through Flanders, describes the Brussels Palace where he examined the treasures of the Aztec Empire among which was a great golden sun sent by Fernando Cortez to the Governess Margaret of Austria. Rubens had a valuable collection of antiques and curios. Everyone in Belgium has always tried to embellish and ornament his home; the houses are roomy, built for banquets and reunions, and often quite sumptuous. From the time of the Middle Ages, every rich or well-to-do Belgian has bought paintings. They are not necessarily good ones, but that matters little, since great schools of art develop from the number and the competition of the artists, since better results are obtained when convention is broken, and since the painter, even when famished, stays as close . . .

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