One of the most famous symbols of Belgium and most representative artist is René Magritte.
He has become famous internationally for his surrealist style and provocative images, such as the painting of a business man with a green apple covering his face or dream-like landscapes filled up with fluffy clouds. His works are unpredictable and abstract, they are well known for challenging the observer’s perception of reality and for shifting the understanding of the ordinary everyday life. The artist is still well known and appreciated both from critics and art lovers: his pictures still embody modern topics and represent the difficulties, thoughts and doubts of the human nature.
Magritte (1898-1967) spent 24 years living in Brussels, in the commune of Jatte, where he found the inspiration for his works and produced more than half of his paintings. In fact some glimpses of the city and some parts of his house are still recognizable to careful observers. The love he felt for the city and the attention for the details he put in his work contributed to bound him to Brussels and its citizens. He is still nowadays seen as an important part of the city’s cultural and social heritage and he is still kept in the collectivity’s memory.
This year, to seize the 50th anniversary since the artist’s death, Brussels honors Magritte’s memory, through a number of events and expositions and invites tourists and bruxellois to spend some time (re)discovering a great author and a great Belgian.
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium has a permanent exposition dedicated to Magritte: it collects an impressive amount of paintings and materials of the artist and is the ideal first stop if you don’t know much about René or his production. The René-Magritte House Museum hosts aquarelles, gouaches and drawings in a quite original setting: the house where Magritte and his wife lived between 1930 and 1954 and where the surrealist group used to meet. The museum also offers a Sunday per month of free activities for all the family from 14h to 17h: puzzles, readings, riddles and much more. On the other hand, if you are looking for something more dynamic, you can walk around the city, taking a look at the mural painted by Magritte in the Theatre Royal des Galeries, booking a visit to the Square Meeting Centre -a majestic cube covered in frescos by Magritte and Delvaux- or taking guided tours. For this last option the choice is quite varied: the city, and the commune of Jatte itself, organized tours by foot or by bike around the most important places of Magritte’s life. More and more events are going to be added to the already consistent list, especially from August on. For example: from the 21st of September a special exhibition will be held in the Atomium, focusing on Magritte and Surrealism; and from the 13th of October a special exhibition will take place at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, underlining the relationship between Magritte and Marcel Lecomte.
If you are in Brussels and want to discover a bit more about the city, its past, culture and heritage get to know more Magritte: a true bruxelloi and an affectionate Brussels lover.