Musée Wiertz

2 Oct

Fashions change, are born, die, disappear and reappear. It’s like a window into history; not the history of kings and queens, but of convictions and desires. Maybe that’s how and why I look at old art: to snatch a bit of permanence amidst all that birth, death and flux.

That said, the next three posts are about old art. There’s lots of glory, vanity and death, which points up what I said just above. The next two posts i’ll do on Flemish Primitives and other bits and bobs in the Brussels Old Masters museum, and the St. John’s Hospital and Groeninge museums in Bruges. This one though, this one is about Antoine Wiertz.

The story here is that our Antoine managed to get an agreement with the Belgian state under which they built him an enormous studio which, on his death, would be turned into a museum to house all his work in perpetuity. Not bad, Antoine. Trouble is, he’s since fallen seriously out of fashion, to the point where the Economist magazine dubbed his museum the worst public art collection in Europe. If you ask me, Wiertz should’ve gone the whole hog and had himself interred in it as his mausoleum too. I like it when an artist is so puffed up with bombast that they start to look silly.

Here are the pictures.
This is La Belle Rosine. She’s looking at her own skeleton. You can tell it’s her before dear Antoine has painted a post-it note on the skull which reads La Belle Rosine. Can you tell yet that he doesn’t do subtle?


He does do high camp though.



This next one is so big, it won’t sit flush against the wall. Think about it: King Leopold II built him a massive studio so Antoine made something that was slightly
bigger than it, the bitch:


See the trompe l’oeil in the corner? No, not the rapist being shot in the face, to the right of that. The little one. Zoom in. It was freaking me out.


What’s this? Eve, a Pietà and who’s that on the right? No idea-





I’d say it was St George, only it looks like the dragon wings are coming out of his back.

Antoine Wiertz. Not the genius he thought he was, but some other kind of genius nonetheless.


2 Responses to “Musée Wiertz”

  1. rebecca October 3, 2015 at 4:42 am #

    Thanks for sharing la belle Rosine!

    • thechthonianlife October 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

      It was a pleasure to see it. I asked the museum employee where the other painting of his that seems to be well known, “Premature Burial”, but it was off limits because of the taste police, i mean, restoration work on the other rooms

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