Brussels, 1928. After a long period of construction, the Centre for Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux-Arts) officially opened its doors on 4 May. As Queen Elisabeth wished, the ambition of the brand-new institution was to be a place dedicated to the “living arts”. The tone was immediately set with a major exhibition in November devoted to the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861 – 1929). A pupil and associate of Auguste Rodin and Alberto Giacometti’s teacher, among others, Bourdelle was one of the great sculptors of his time, particularly acclaimed for his majestic public monuments.
Bourdelle impressed observers with a selection of monumental sculptures in the Sculpture Gallery (now the Horta Hall), culminating in the group General Alvear on Horseback and the Four Allegories. His vast exhibition, featuring over 140 sculptures and almost 80 works on paper, took up a large part of the building and was considered his last artistic manifesto, barely a year before his death.
Thanks to virtual reality, you can return to one of the key moments in the early history of the Centre for Fine Arts and experience Antoine Bourdelle’s sculptures in the Horta Hall. This project is part of the Centre for Fine Arts’ (multi-year) centenary celebrations.