Le Lombard building in Brussels

Blistering barnacles! Exploring art in Brussels

Whether the unique city views have you reaching for your own paintbrush, or you simply appreciate the vibrant strokes of a masterful oil painting, Brussels is the perfect getaway for any art lover. Art is a key part of the Brussels aesthetic, from the many murals covering the walls of quaint houses to the avant garde sculptures constantly popping up in local parks. Take a walk through the painted city streets of the Belgian capital and you can’t help but be inspired by the city. Here are some of our top tips for exploring art in Brussels.

Brussels museums and art galleries

comic 3
Image by R/DV/RS

Whatever your taste in art, you’ll be able to find a world-class collection here. There are pieces by old masters Peter Paul Rubens, Hieronymus Bosch and Anthony van Dyck housed within the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, as well as dedicated galleries for Antoine Wiertz, Rene Magritte and Constantin Meunier. You can also see Picasso and other more recent greats at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts, or head to Art Thema Gallery for beautiful exhibits of modern sculpture.

For a taste of contemporary Belgian art visit the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, housed in an old brewery, and the Almine Rech Gallery, a fantastic collection of works by both established artists and the brightest up-and-coming talent.

The home of the comic book

Herge mural in Brussels
Image by James Cridland

Of course, what trip would be complete without a nod to one of Brussels’ most famous residents? The influence of Hergé’s Tintin is ever-present in the city, captured perfectly in the fantastic Belgian Comic Strip Centre, featuring exhibits of work by both Hergé and other Belgian artists.

Comic lovers will also love Brussels’ Comic Book Walk through the centre of the city and surrounding areas. Beloved characters such as Tintin and Lucky Luke loom large over the streets, immortalised in giant murals. Explore the trail at your leisure or get a guided tour from the Comic Strip Centre.

Art workshops

Children taking part in an art workshop in Brussels
Image by foam

Where better to hone your own artistic talents than in the beautiful city of Brussels? As if the very streets themselves aren’t inspiration enough for you to pull out your sketchbook, there are some fantastic workshops taking place throughout the year.

The Brussels Royal Academy of Fine Art often runs short programmes on a wide range of subjects including ceramics, theatre and comic books. Plateau 96 is another organisation that runs short courses exploring artistic expression through the use of colours and materials.

Art Brussels 2017

Exhibition at Art Brussels
Image by cea +

Running since 1968, Art Brussels is one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the contemporary art calendar. Each April, people from all across the world descend on Belgium to discover the freshest new talent.

145 galleries take part in the fair, presenting both new works and old gems that have been hidden from public eyes. If you visit Belgium in April for Art Brussels 2017, be sure to also head to Off Course, a fair exclusively featuring new artists under the age of 40.

Unleash your inner artist – start planning your trip today on our adventure page.

Featured image by Ben Salter.