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Timings : Varied; Details below

Time Required : 3-4 hours

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Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels Overview

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is a group of museums in Belgium which house some of the most important pieces of visual arts. A national commission was set up by Royal Decree to select which sections would be featured in the museums. The chain of museums includes the Old Masters, Magritte, Fin-de-Siècle and Modern (selection) Museum as well as the studios of artists Antoine Wiertz and Constantin Meunier situated in the downtown Royal District.

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium retells the history of Belgium through its collection of 20,000 artworks and six museums in the mode of paintings, sculptures and drawings from 15th to the 21st century. Some of the major Flemish Primitives whose work is preserved in these museums are Pieter Bruegel, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacques Jordaens, Jacques Louis David, Auguste Rodin, James Ensor, Paul Gauguin, Ferdinand Khnopff, Henry Moore, Paul Delvaux, René Magritte, Marcel Broodthaers, Jan Fabre and many others.

The museums each host a variety of exhibitions every other week as well as guided tours and activities. Ranked the 82nd museum in the world, the institution Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is headed by Michel Draguet since May 2005. The Museums even hold a theatre workshop activity for history enthusiasts. However, the entire event is conducted in French.

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Timings of Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

With the exception of the Musée Wiertz Museum and the Musée Meunier Museum (open Tuesdays to Fridays), the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are open from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Tuesdays - Fridays: 10 AM - 5 PM
Weekends: 11 AM - 6 PM
The ticket offices close at 4:430 PM during the week and at 5:30 PM during the weekends.

*Closed Mondays and January 1st, 2nd Thursday of January, 1 May, 1 November, 11 November, 25 December.

Ticket Information for Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Collections + Musée Magritte Museum
Adults: EUR 15
Seniors, Groups: EUR 10
Free of Charge: Children, Press cardholders, Brussels cardholders
Audio guides: EUR 4

Collections: (Old Masters + Fin-de-Siècle)
Adults: EUR 10
Seniors, Groups: EUR 8
Free of Charge: Children, Press cardholders, Brussels cardholders
Audio guides: EUR 4

Musée Wiertz Museum / Musée Meunier Museum
Free of Charge

Museums at Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Oldmasters Museum
old masters museum; brussels

Musée Oldmasters was founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte, and it boasts a rich collection of European painting spanning the 15th to the 18th centuries. Highlights include early Flemish masterpieces by Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach and Pieter Bruegel, the Elder. Holdings from the 17th and 18th centuries include works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacques Jordaens, and French and Italian figures such as Jusepe de Ribera and Giovani Battista Tiepolo.

Magritte Museum
royal museum of fine arts of belgium

The René Magritte Museum is famed to reside in the house in which the Belgian surrealist painter worked nearly 24 years of his life. On the ground floor, the museum presents the apartment where the painter lived and worked from 1930 to 1954. A biographical exhibition is spread over the two other storeys. The rue Esseghem, the house in which Magritte spent time and which has been open to the public since 1999, remains a fascinating one for anybody who wishes to approach the painter.

Fin-de-Siècle Museum
The Musée Fin-de-Siècle provides a personal tour into the extraordinary artistic revolution that took place across northern Europe at the turn of the century. Brussels became the centre sight for this burgeoning artistic scene with the merging of symbolism and Art Nouveau; the central figures and legacy of which are explored at the Musée Fin-de-Siècle. One of the Musées Royaux Des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, and featuring works by Belgian artists such as James Ensor, Henry Van de Velde and Philippe Wolfers as well as international artists including Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin and Pierre Bonnard, the museum is devoted to a unique moment in artistic history.

Wiertz Museum
royal museums of art of belgium; paintings

Dedicated to Belgian Romantic painter, sculptor and writer Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865) and located in his former home and studio, the Musée Wiertz presents a significant collection of the artist's frequently monumental paintings, portraits and self-portraits. Highlights include the eight-metre-long Greeks and Trojans Fighting over the Body of Patroclus and possibly Wiertz's best-known painting, The Two Young Girls (La Belle Rosine), which explores life and death. The museum became part of Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in 1868.

Meunier Museum
royal museums of art of belgium; facade; marble columns

The sculptor and painter Constantin Meunier (1831-1905) built his live-in studio in Rue de l’Abbaye at the end of the 19th century. He lived there for the last five years of his life. The museum contains around 150 works and documents that trace the artist’s development between 1875 and 1905, a chapter he called his second life. The site is currently part of the structure of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

History of Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The institution of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium was set up by royal decree in 1845 in order to preserve the work of living and deceased Belgian artists. A committee was set up to select the most important works of art, headed first by the Count de Beaufort, a great aficionado of the finer things in life. Many of the founding members were active parts of the Royal Academy of Science and the Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium.

The main building which now houses the Museum of Ancient Art stands as a symbol of Beaux-Arts architecture meant to assert the identity and meaning of the building. It also commemorates members of the Mouvement National Royaliste, a Belgian liberation movement from 1944.

How To Reach Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Musée Oldmasters Museum, Musée Magritte Museum, Musée Fin-de-siècle Museum, Musée Modern Museum
  1. Train: Brussels Central station (Gare centrale)
  2. Metro: lines 1 to 5 (Parc or Gare Centrale)
  3. Tram: lines 92-93 (stop: Royale)
  4. Bus: lines 27, 38,  71 , 95 (stop: Royale); lines 29, 63 , 65,  66 (stop: Parc or Gare Centrale)
Musée Wiertz Museum
  1. Train: Luxembourg station (Brussels-Luxembourg)
  2. Bus: lines 21, 27, 38, 64, 71, 80, 95 (stop: Luxembourg)
Musée Meunier Museum
  1. Tram: lines 7, 93, 94 (stop: Abbaye)
  2. Bus: line 71 (stop: Abbaye)

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