This Is Not a Museum
More than a year after its inauguration, the Magritte Museum still has lines around the block and busloads of tourists being dropped off in the center of Brussels to marvel at over 200 works by the Surrealist master. Housed in the sumptuous neo-classical Hôtel Atenloh atop the Mont des Arts, Brussels’ museum hub, the collection is laid out chronologically and thematically and brings together paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs never exhibited together before.
Magritte’s work juxtaposes ordinary objects and unexpected environments, forcing viewers to rethink familiar shapes and situations. His Ceci n’est pas (This is not a…) series depicts a pipe or an apple, while a caption on the same canvas assures viewers that what they are seeing is in fact not a pipe, nor an apple.
His clean, graphic imagery has influenced fellow artists, filmmakers and musicians, and reproductions of Magritte’s bowler hat man abound. Other celebrated paintings to be seen at the Museum include the bird, cloud and curtain motifs as well as some of Magritte’s less commercial and perhaps more meditative works such as The Dominion of Light.
Also noteworthy is the Museum’s interactive, state-of-the-art technology with educational screens featuring digitized archival information accompanying visitors throughout the trail. A bookshop, a cinema and a research center round out the experience.