The collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (KMSKB) encompasses over 20,000 works of art in five museums in Brussels: the Old Masters Museum, the Modern Museum, the Antoine Wiertz Museum, the Constantin Meunier Museum, the Magritte Museum, and the Fin-de-Siècle Museum. They all originate from the Brussels Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1803. The collection grew steadily from the earliest years until it attained its present number of pieces.
The core of the Old Master collection consists of paintings from the Southern Netherlands, including artworks by all the major painters from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. The fifteenth century is represented by important paintings by Rogier van de Weyden, Petrus Christus (I), Dieric Bouts, Hans Memling, and Jheronimus Bosch. From the sixteenth century, there are seven paintings by Pieter Bruegel (I), including The Census at Bethlehem and The Fall of the Rebel Angels. The collection also has works by key seventeenth-century artists, including two versions of The King Drinks by Jacques Jordaens, several paintings by Anthony van Dyck, and a number of monumental altarpieces by Peter Paul Rubens.
The KMSKB’s 320 paintings from the Northern Netherlands include one by Rembrandt and three by Frans Hals. Seventeenth-century masters represented include Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu, Nicolaes Maes, Meindert Hobbema, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, and Abraham Bloemaert. In addition, the KMSKB owns a large number of works on paper, including drawings by Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques de Gheyn II, and Rembrandt. Approximately 3,600 of Jean de Grez’s 4,250-strong collection of drawings from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries belong to the Northern Netherlandish School.
Liesbeth De Belie, Curator of 17th-century Dutch Painting (July 2022)
The Flemish Primitives: catalogue of early Netherlandish painting in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Stroo, Cyriel [et al.]
Catalogus van de beeldhouwkunst: kunstenaars geboren tussen 1750 en 1882
Lennep, Jacques van
Inventariscatalogus van de oude schilderkunst
Related CODART publications
Dr. Irene Schaudies, “Jordaens and the Antique: A Master Reborn”, CODARTfeatures, March 2012.