When it comes to art, Belgium is one of those countries that truly has it all, from architectonical wonders to medieval art, and its capital, Brugges, is pretty much an open museum for the thousands of tourists that visit it year after year.
But, among all those incredibly beautiful things, The Groeninge Museum definitely stands out from the pack. Established in 1930 on Dijver street, it has a vast variety of different types of art from different parts of the world and eras, especially if we talk about Flemish paintings.
What To Find In The Groeninge
In the first of its halls, you’ll find a huge Flemish painting collection from the XV and XVI centuries, most of them done by demand of the city government back in the day. Most are focused on scenes from the judgment day and mythological topics to transmit a sense of morality. Also, you may find a lot of portraits from some of the most cherished characters back in the day, either from Brugges or all Europe. In the next hall, you’ll be able to find some of the finest earliest Flemish paintings, with a lot of pieces that were incredibly realistic for their time, even despite the fact that they don’t feature an average linear perspective. Most of the topics of the paintings you’ll find here are focused on portraits, every-day scenes, and landscapes, but you can also find a lot of religious symbolism and the finest attention to details, with works from Hugo van der Goes and Hans Memling as the most important artists of the time. The next hall is mostly focused on the Renaissance in Brugge, a time that started in 1520 when several city painters found out about the Italian Renaissance and rediscovered some of the finest works of the Romans. Linear perspective is introduced right around this time, as well as some good old classic topics, and this room is the most popular amongst the tourists that line up day after day to visit the Groeninge. The next hall features a lot of late Renaissance and Baroque paintings, on a time where protestant painters were banned from painting religious figures, and most catholic artists thrived with the funding of the church. Also, they use way more light and color on their works, and the topics are mostly centered in historical landscapes and portraits, like the Lady Anne Rushout portrait. Next, the fifth hall is mostly dedicated to the neoclassical school of Brugge, born and developed in XVIII, when Belgian artists found a new interest for classical art, and then go back to the most realistic pieces.
Last but not least, the sixth hall is mostly dedicated to temporary exhibits, but it also holds a great variety of sculptures, while the seventh hall is almost entirely a public archive for the museum. The eighth and final hall is dedicated to art from the 19th century and all of the different schools that coexisted, like romanticism, realism, impressionism, and symbolism, among others.