BRUSSELS – Being one of the diners eating soup and drinking wine around a long table in a Pieter Bruegal painting will now be a possibility at an exhibition in Brussels from Wednesday.
The interactive show aims to offer visitors of the Atomium a chance to discover the world of the Dutch painter by becoming the subjects themselves.
“Bruegel, A Poetic Experience,” offers an introduction to the Renaissance painter, who was a master of landscape who portrayed the customs of the period.
Arnaud Bozzini, the director of exhibitions at the Atomium, Bruegel is for Belgium “a key figure who illustrates through his paintings the environment in which he lived.
“Through his techniques, even today you can see, he definitely marked the history of Renaissance art,” he added.
The show, aimed at visitors of all ages, does not include original artworks but instead reproductions and projections of the painter’s work.
The space “is not a museum” with the right conditions, the director said. “What we want to offer are the keys to understanding (...) one of the great masters of painting.”
But why has a building from 1958 been chosen to host the work of a painter from the Renaissance, who died over four centuries ago?
According to Bozzini, it’s about “Belgitude” – a concept that can be defined as the Belgium’s “essence” or “cultural identity,” which the famous structure is “exploring.”
The Atomium recently had exhibits celebrating Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte and the now defunct airline Sabena.
The Bruegel exhibit, which runs until 13 September, features installations that will allow viewers to immerse themselves in the artwork.
Spread over two heights on the ground floor, the exhibition shows five paintings belonging to the “Six Seasons” series via three-dimensional scenery, which invites the visitor to take a walk through “Bruguelian” landscapes.
The second floor focuses on the artist’s personality, whose life was shrouded in mystery.
The most surprising element in this space is a wooden table with two benches on either side, recreating the scene in “The Peasant Wedding.”
Complete with dishes and food, the scene will no doubt become a place in which to snap a selfie.
Born in Brussels around 1520, Bruegel set up in the Marolles neighborhood of Brussels, where he did most of his work.
He also lived in Antwerp for a time.
Little is known about the artist’s training but he began painting in the last 15 years of his life.
He left behind some 40 paintings.
Various exhibitions and activities are taking place in Belgium to commemorate the artist’s 450th death anniversary.