The most famous work of art exhibited at the museum is, of course, The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David; however, this 19th-20th century art collection boasts a wealth of other masterpieces. Opened in 1984 in a Neo-Classicist building in Rue de la Régence, the museum presents a thematically and chronologically arranged permanent exhibition arranged on six levels. 19th-century painting is represented by all of the significant movements of the era. The Neo-Classicism of the turn of the 19th century is marked by the above-mentioned David, as well as Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, François Gérard, Mathieu and Philippe Van Brée and, particularly, François-Joseph Navez. After the Belgian independence in 1831, nationalism and heroism emerged as topical concepts among the general public - a phenomenon amply reflected by Belgian art of the time. Both Episodes from September Days 1830 on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville in Brussels by Gustaf Wappers and paintings by Antoine Wiertz stand out with their turbulent emotions and theatrical effects. Alongside the Belgian masters, the famous French Romantic painters - Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix - are featured in the permanent exhibition. The passion for the national and local past in the Historicist paintings by Louis Gallait and Henri Leys contrast strongly with the exotic Orientalism of Jean-François Portaels. The mid-19th century saw the emergence of realism in the fine arts, expressed in landscapes (Théodore Fourmois, Louis Artan de Saint-Martin, Guillaume Vogels and Hippolyte Boulenger) and the new subjects of the industrial age (Charles De Groux, Constantin Meunier, Charles Hermans, Léon Frédéric and Eugène Laermans) alike. The Belgian Impressionism is represented by Emile Claus, Félicien Rops and Anna Boch, Pointillism - by Paul Signac, Théo Van Rysselberghe and Henry Van de Velde. Post-Impressionist manifestations can clearly be detected in Paul Gauguin's Breton Calvary, as well as in the works by the Nabis Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Symbolism was particularly popular in the Belgium of the turn of the 20th century; many of the best-known Symbolist artists hailed from Belgium. In Symbolist art, what mattered was not depicting reality but alluding to some kind of mystery - awakening the hidden soul of people and objects in a poetic and sometimes painful manner. The exhibition features a number of works by the great Belgian Symbolists Fernand Khnopff, Jean Delville, William Degouve de Nuncques; a separate room is dedicated to the most famous among them, James Ensor. The display comes to an exquisite conclusion with The Wedding Procession of Psyche by the sophisticated English Preraphaelite Edward Burne-Jones. The 20th-century art collection features all the -isms typical of the time: Fauvism, Surrealism, Abstractionism, the 'New Belgian Painting', the CoBrA movement, etc. The one artist represented in the most impressive manner is, of course, the Surrealist René Magritte: the 26-piece strong collection is officially the largest and most significant in the world.
Keywords: museum, Brussels