This work by Lucas Gassel depicts the ducal court at Coudenberg. A beautiful residence with vast gardens, tournament grounds, several interior courtyards surrounded by a complex of buildings. It is the oldest complete representation of the former palace of Brussels.
This painting represents a wealthy Brussels family in the courtyard of their residence. Colourful outfits and musical instruments evoke a festive atmosphere. An important man has come to visit the family. The features of the kneeling person's outfit give credence to this fact!
On the night of 13 to 14 August 1695, the troops of Louis XIV, King of France, bombarded Brussels. This is a major event in the history of our capital.
In 1455, a weather vane is placed on the top of the Town Hall tower. It marks the final point of the construction of the building. Measuring 5.7 metres and weighing nearly 400 kg, it has stood the test of time to become a major work of art from an artistic and scientific point of view.
Since the 15th century, a drinking water fountain has stood at the corner of rue de l'Etuve and rue du Chêne. A little boy stands above it, urinating into the fountain.
Through this Minerva, Paul Du Bois represents an allegory of freedom. Actually, this masterpiece is often referred to as such. The artist has been inspired by the Roman goddess of wisdom.
At the request of mayor Jules Anspach, several Brussels artists documented the city which was undergoing rapid change, characterised by the enclosure of the Senne, construction of central boulevards, etc. Among these artists was Jean-Baptiste Van Moer, a painter and seasoned traveller, who was mainly known for his representations of old Brussels. This old Brussels was gradually disappearing with the major urban changes in the second half of the 19th century.
Our large model displays the city of Brussels in the 13th century. At first glance, it does not look like modern-day Brussels. The first fortifications were largely demolished, agriculture has largely disappeared from the city centre to make way for buildings and the Senne - the river which weaves its way through the city - was enclosed at the end of the 19th century.
This altarpiece is the work of several craftsmen: carpenters, cabinet makers, painters and, last but not least, gilders. The carved panel comes from the workshop of the Borman family. It represents the life of Mary and the first years of the life of Jesus. The segment painted by Valentin van Orley tells the story of Joseph's life and, on the back, depicts the tree of Jesse.
The museum keeps an important collection of tapestries dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. At that time, Brussels became the most dominant city in the production of tapestries. Generating significant economic activity for the city, our tapestries were exported to the four corners of Europe. Kings, emperors and popes have their tapestries woven in Brussels to adorn their various residences. No other city could match the level of sophistication of these woven masterpieces.
The 350 pieces of earthenware kept by the museum provide a detailed overview of Brussels design. It reached its peak in the 18th century, although it has existed since the 16th century.
Originally, our eight prophets adorned the porch of the Town Hall tower. They date from the initial period of construction of the building, between 1401 and 1421. Since the 19th century, copies have replaced the originals.
The most important work in our collection is undoubtedly the building that houses the museum. It is called “Maison du Roi” in French and “Broodhuis” in Dutch. This neo-Gothic building, as we know it today, dates back to the last quarter of the 19th century. Its unparalleled history perfectly reflects the heritage of the city.