Paintings, sculptures, photography, stained glass – all sorts of art have found a place in the metro over the years. But one thing remains the same: all of the artists are Belgian! Follow us along this underground network as we trace the art available for us all to enjoy. We’ve narrowed 82 works down to our choice top 10.
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Guy Vandenbranden - Compositie :: The stained glass windows of the Brussels artist makes up a large part of the wall in this station. The shapes and colors combine to make a geometric ensemble. This work becomes all the more beautiful when its shimmering colors are reflected onto the platform.
Yves Bosquet – Stuyvenbergh :: The Stuyvenbergh castle above ground was Queen Elisabeth’s last residence. These groups of ceramic sculptures represent the third queen of Belgium at different times in her life. Several cement elements symbolize prominent places during her rein: the two palaces and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
8) Parvis de Saint-Gilles
(c) Françoise Schein
Françoise Schein – Dyade :: Françoise Schein has professed his love for the Declaration of the Rights of Man in various cities : Paris (stations Concorde du métro), Lisbonne, Haïfa, Stockholm, London, Berlin and… Brussels, his home. The work at the Parvis de Saint-Gilles station represents the text in its entirety, white letters on a blue background. The absence of punctuation and spaces will keep you occupied while you wait for the next tram.
7) Gare de l’Ouest
Stephan Vanfletren – Mode in de metro :: For his portrait gallery in the Gare de l’Ouest, Stephan Vanfleteren had an original idea : have one-time models wear clothes from the biggest Belgian fashion designers. He really captured the faces well; you might just see them again in the metro.
Jean-Paul Laenen – Metrorama 78 :: Two photographed frescos confront you in this Anderlecht station. The first depicts the construction of the station while the second shows a chronicle of the neighborhood at the time. A throwback in time before zooming into the dark of the metro tunnels.
Jean-Michel Folon – Magic City :: The rather famous artist Jean-Michel Folon is known for his drawings and flying men imagery that would close out the night programming on France’s t.v. channel, Antenne 2, from 1975 to 1983. This fresco is an attempt to bring some magical sunlight to the dark underground network.
Paul De Gobert – La grande taupe et le petit peintre :: While killing time at the Vandervelde station, Paul de Gobert suggests a blast to the past. His acrylic work represents the surrounding areas of the station before it was devoured by urbanization. You can see the Woluwe valley, the hills and some houses. The four seasons come one after the next as the painting progresses.
Hergé – Tintin dans le métro :: Tintin is everywhere in Brussels, and the opposite is true as well. On each of the two bas-reliefs, there are more than 140 silhouettes straight from the Tintin albums, for the pleasure of everyone from 7 to 77 who has read these classics!
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Paul Delvaux – Nos vieux trams bruxellois :: Delvaux likes painting women… and modes of transportation. You can find the Watermael train station in a number of his works. To fill up the 13 meters that he was given underneath the center city boulevards, this surrealist painter creates a different version of his painting “Le Tram de notre enfance” (The Tram from our Childhood). Since then, old Brussels trams have been looking over their modern counterparts…
1) Porte de Hal
François Schuiten – Passage inconnu :: For his massive work in the Porte de Hal, François Schuiten created a comic book-like universe. It is reminiscent of his comics that won him the Grand Prize at the Angoulême festival in 2002. Modernity and authenticity rub shoulders in a harmony of colors. The skyscrapers stretch up to ground level, while the old tram 81 watches its newer version pass by. Can you spot the Porte de Hal in the background?
Graffitis - De Wand :: The frescoes of graffiti by De Wand are not in the metro, but can be considered works of art. They liven up the walls you pass in the tram and are always changing. Just take a tram ride to discover two insanely detailed frescoes.
The STIB offers a brochure of all artwork in the metro. You can download it on their site: www.stib.be.