Home > Current events > Reopening Of Three Galleries At The Cinquantenaire Museum And Exhibition the World Through Perspective Views


AS OF 24 SEPTEMBER 2009 Opening night of the Brussels museums on 24 September 2009 from 5 PM to 10 PM

The Cinquantenaire Museum inaugurates its permanent galleries dedicated to lapidary sculpture, precision instruments and metal arts, and presents a new exhibition The World Through Perspective Views

Astronomic clock, Signed I.F. Decool at Namur; circa 1800, black marble, golden brass.
Peg based escapement movement; pendulum with bimetallic compensation grill.



Parc du Cinquantenaire 10 – 1000 BRUSSELS


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  • Tuesday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 5 PM
  • Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM
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  • 5€ / 4€ / 1.50€ (school groups)
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    Claudine Deltour-Levie


    Bart Suys, Communication Officer

  • Tel: +32 (0)2 741 73 00
  • E-mail : b.suys@mrah.be

  • The Cinquantenaire Museum inaugurates, in one of its most remarkable exhibition circuits, located around a gothic-inspired cloister, a series of three renovated rooms that will house the collections of lapidary sculpture (baptismal fonts, tombstones), precision instruments (clocks and instruments to measure the earth and the cosmos) and metal arts (copperware, ironworks, etc). This will be an opportunity to admire a certain number of objects that had not left the museum’s storage for a very long time.

    Baptismal fonts and ornamental gates

    Roman and Gothic lapidary sculpture is represented by a unique ensemble of baptismal fonts – samples of the production of Tournaisis and the Mosan region - among them angle heads, with very strong expressions that have survived the passage of time. There are also tombstones made in the famous «black marble» from Tournai, reserved to members of the elite.
    The collection of old ironworks, presented to the public for the first time in decades, is shown in a venue worthy of these master pieces: keys, locks and knockers, ornamental gates and coffers retrace the evolution of wrought-iron craftsmanship, from the Middle Ages to the end of the XVIIIth century, while pewter and copperware illustrate the daily and religious lives of times long-gone-by. In the chapel, a perfect copy of that of Saint-Georges in Brussels, called the chapel of Nassau, the main works of art are the baptismal font from the church of Saint-Germain in Tirlemont (1149) and the large lectern chandelier from Saint-Ghislain (1442).

    Rock crystal watches and astrolabes

    The collection of precision instruments is spread out over two entities: on the one hand, clocks, organized chronologically and, on the other hand, instruments to measure the heavens and Earth, according to themes. These two ensembles linked to Europe of the Renaissance and the Modern Times give preference to works from the former Netherlands and the principality of Liège. Superb examples of mechanical art are illustrated by a series of clocks, figurative automatons, rock crystal watches and imposing pendulum clocks and simple or complicated pendulums. The non-mechanical instruments to measure time and space well represent the reputation of the Louvain workshop, one of the best-known as a supplier of the royal and princely scientific cabinets in the XVIth century: armillary spheres, astrolabes, sun dials or surveyor circles… Models help the visitor get used to handling these objects.

    Perspective views, the television of the past

    The inauguration of these three new rooms offers the perfect opportunity to discover the temporary exhibit on perspective views. They are black and white or colour engravings, made to be seen through a machine that accentuates the perspective. These perspectives were very much in fashion in the XVIIIth and the first half of the XIXth centuries at a time when people did not travel much, and were shown in fairs and markets. They opened a window on to the world, thus playing a role similar to that of our current television. The Cinquantenaire Museum owns nearly 500 of these views, part of the Lefébure collection, bought in 1943. Many of them have never been shown to the public before. After focusing some years ago on the images dedicated to Belgium, the museum presents nearly 150 pieces in a more general context.

    Illustration: The Church of Saint-Pierre with the Pope's Palace in Roma / G. B Probst, 18th century.


    Catalogue: The world through perspective views / Legal deposit : D / 2009 / 05 / 50 / 4.
    160 pages and illustrations, price : 10 €. Author: Claudine Deltour-Levie

    To see more illustrations, click on VERSION FRANCAISE at the top of this page