Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance, poetry, cinema, and television are consider the 8 disciplines of art. Who knew they were labeled as such. Belgium has perfected an art form to such a degree they consider it #9: comic books. The Belgian Comic Strip Center or Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee. Comics in Belgium are serious business and cover a number of Genres beyond the newspaper funny pages. However, one of the most successful comic creations to make it out of Belgium were the Schtroumphs or as we know them…
Brody was only semi-excited to recognize Tintin. This photo was taken after touring the museum. He was very onhappy that it was not 90% Tintin. Instead it had tons of information on Comic Novels and the development of each. The museum interviewed authors and went through their creative process, there was also the information on how it is physically created and printed. It seems with the advent of computers the artistic form is an entirely new ball game for some comic writers. What solidified this museum as the Comic Strip capital of the world was the photo on the wall of another Indiana visitor, Jim Davis, creator of Garfield.
For those really not interested in comics – no problem! The museum is in a renovated warehouse that was originally designed by Victor Horta. It is in the Art-Nouveau style with it’s organic wrought iron curves and stained glass. Horta was a contemporary of our good friend Gaudi, but not as flamboyant with is designs.
Nearby is another museum housed in a refurbished Art Nouveau building, the Musical Instrument Museum. This was a fun tour as the audio guide did not have much to say – it was all music. When you approached a display of instruments from around the world, you could hear the instrument playing. It really enhanced the visit.
The special exhibition was on Belgium’s hometown boy, Adolph Sax. Yes, he created the saxophone and a multitude of other brass and wind instruments that just didn’t gain the same popularity. There were other odd instruments. Anyone ever heard of Orcinas? I’m not sure I want to even know what they are made of after having toured the bag-pipe section. It’s impressive that not only does this odd instrument exist but someone composed pieces that were printed in a high quality manner.
We took a walk through the Upper Town to see the Palace, the Justice building and a few lovely gardens and squares. It is very befuddling how the King, with no authority, requires an entire palace for his business. Still haven’t figured out why these countries with high unemployment support monarchies with no authority. Or even Monarchies with authority. The upkeep of their palaces, enterouages and wardrobes has to be astronomical.
We passed by the Manneken-Pis again and he was naked. The costumes are only for special occasions. Then we all had another Belgian waffle smothered in nutella.