Antoine Wiertz

Antoine Joseph Wiertz (22 February 1806 – 18 June 1865) was a Belgian romantic painter and sculptor.

Antoine Wiertz
Wiertz selbst bildnis
Self portrait, 1860
Born22 February 1806
Died18 June 1865 (aged 59)
Known forPainting
Notable work
The Suicide, Deux jeunes filles (La Belle Rosine)
MovementRomanticism, Symbolism
Antoine Wiertz Masque
The death mask of Antoine Wiertz.

Early life

Born in Dinant from a relatively poor family, he entered the Antwerp art academy in 1820. Thanks to his protector Pierre-Joseph de Paul de Maibe, a member of the Second Chamber of the States-General, king William I of the Netherlands awarded an annual stipend to Wiertz from 1821 onwards. Between November 1829 and May 1832, he stayed in Paris, where he studied the old masters at the Louvre.

In 1828, Wiertz came out second in the competition for the prestigious Prix de Rome which he attained on his second attempt in 1832; it enabled him to go to the French Academy at Rome, where he resided from May 1834 until February 1837. Upon his return, he established himself in Liège with his mother.

During his stay in Rome, Wiertz worked on his first great work, Les Grecs et les Troyens se disputant le corps de Patrocle ("Greeks and Trojans fighting for the body of Patroclus", finished in 1836), on a subject borrowed from book XVII of Homer's Iliad. It was exhibited in Antwerp in 1837, where it met with some success. Wiertz submitted the work for the Paris Salon of 1838, but it arrived too late and was refused.

Mature works

At the Paris Salon of 1839, Wiertz showed not only his Patrocles, but also three other works: Madame Laetitia Bonaparte sur son lit de mort ("Madame Laetitia Bonaparte on her deathbed"), La Fable des trois souhaits—Insatiabilité humaine ("The fable of the three wishes—Human insatiability") and Le Christ au tombeau ("Christ entombed"). Badly hung and lit, his entry elicited indifference on the part of the public, and provoked sarcasm among the critics. This second humiliation led to a profound rancour against art critics and against Paris, as expressed in his virulent pamphlet Bruxelles capitale, Paris province.

In 1844, Wiertz painted a second version of his Patrocles on an even bigger scale than the first (the 1836 version measures 3.85m by 7.03m; the 1844 version 5.20m by 8.52). The Rome version is now in the Museum of Walloon Art in Liège, the 1844 in the Wiertz Museum in Brussels.

After the Paris disaster, Wiertz veered more and more to the excessive. A fine example is the monumental La Chute des Anges rebelles ("The Fall of the rebellious Angels", 1841), on an arched canvas of 11.53m by 7.93m.

The death of his mother in 1844 was a terrible blow to the artist. He left Liège in 1845 to settle in Brussels for good. During this period he painted a confrontation of Beauty and Death, Deux jeunes filles—La Belle Rosine (1847), which remains perhaps his most famous work.

Antoine Wiertz Two Young Girls or the Beautiful Rosine
Deux jeunes filles (La Belle Rosine), Oil on canvas, 1847

Dissatisfied with the shiny effect of oil painting, he developed a new technique combining the smoothness of oil painting with the speed of execution and the dullness of painting in fresco. This technique of mat painting entailed the use of a mixture of colours, turpentine and petrol on holland. La Lutte homérique ("The Homeric struggle", 1853) was the first big-scale painting executed in this technique. However, the components used in this technique are responsible for the slow decay of the works produced with it.

Many of his works from the 1850s have a social or philosophical message, often translated in delirious imagery, like Faim, Folie et Crime ("Hunger, Madness and Crime", 1853), La Liseuse de Romans ("The Reader of Novels", 1853), Le Suicide ("The Suicide", 1854), L'Inhumation précipitée ("The premature burial", 1854), Le Dernier Canon ("The last gun", 1855).

Wiertz was also a fine portrait painter, who made self-portraits at various ages. As a sculptor, he produced his most important project towards the end of his life: a series of plasters representing Les Quatre Âges de l'Humanité ("The Four Ages of Humanity", 1860–1862), reproduced in marble for the Wiertz museum by Auguste Franck.

Influenced mainly by Rubens and the late Michelangelo, Wiertz' monumental painting often moves between classical academism and lurid romanticism, between the grandiose and the ridiculous. Although his work was often derided as art pompier, his pictorial language nevertheless preannounced symbolism and a certain kind of surrealism, two currents that would be very strong in Belgian painting.

Later life

After difficult negotiations with the Belgian government, Wiertz was able to realize his dream to turn his last studio into a museum for his works. The Belgian State bought a piece of land and funded the construction of a huge hall to accommodate the painter's monumental works. In exchange, Wiertz donated all his works to the Belgian State, with the express proviso that they should remain in his studio both during and after his lifetime.

Wiertz died in his studio. His remains were embalmed in accordance with Ancient Egyptian burial rites and buried in a vault in the municipal cemetery of Ixelles.

A copy of one of Antoine Wiertz's works, the statue of The Triumph of Light was once prominently located high on San Francisco's Mount Olympus between the Haight-Ashbury and Corona Heights. It had been presented to the city of San Francisco by Adolph Sutro in 1887. Over the years due to lack of care and maintenance the statue fell into disrepair. By the late 1930s, even the history and origins of the statue were no longer common knowledge in San Francisco, and by the mid-1950s, the statue disappeared. All that remains today is the pedestal and base of the monument.[1]



Wiertz burial

L'Inhumation précipitée, 1854, depicts a cholera victim awakening after being placed in a coffin.

The Young Sorceress by Antoine Wiertz

The Young Sorceress

Wiertz Museum

Main Hall of the Wiertz Museum 2
Main hall of The Wiertz Museum, Brussels.

The Antoine Wiertz Museum is now one of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.[3] It is located in the Leopold district of Brussels, near the Luxembourg railway station, today overshadowed by the European Parliament complex. The Rue Wiertz runs from the museum through the Parliament complex, in an unintended echo of Wiertz' call for Brussels to become the capital of Europe.

Contemporary opinions of the museum and the works therein are mixed:

  • "[The museum] is devoted to the works of one of the city's most distinctive, if disagreeable, nineteenth-century artists."[4]
  • "If you're into the shocking or nasty, it [the museum] may appeal."[5]
  • "In recent years the Wiertz Museum has attracted an average of just ten visitors a day ... The Belgian state is legally stuck with all 220 of his [Wiertz'] works—dreadful though most of them are—and an obligation to display them forever. ... [Wiertz was] perhaps the worst painter to have a government-funded museum all to himself, at least in the free world ..."[6]


  1. ^ Sutro's Triumph of Light Statue
  2. ^ Almanach royal officiel de Belgique/1841
  3. ^ "The Antoine Wiertz Museum". Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  4. ^ Dunford, Martin; Phil Lee (2002). The Rough Guide to Belgium & Luxembourg, 3rd ed. Rough Guides Limited. p. 101. ISBN 1-85828-871-1. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  5. ^ Cole, Geert; Logan, Leanne (2007). Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg, 3rd ed. Hawthorn, Vic., Australia: Lonely Planet Publications. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-74104-237-5. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  6. ^ "A Belgian national champion. A terrible lesson from a terrible painter". The Economist. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2009.


  • Berko, Patrick & Viviane (1981). "Dictionary of Belgian painters born between 1750 & 1875", Knokke 1981, p. 792-793.
  • Berko, Patrick & Viviane (2011). "19th Century European Virtuoso Painters", Knokke 2011, p. 520, illustrations p. 430.
  • Colleye, Hubert (1957). Antoine Wiertz. Brussels: La Renaissance du Livre.
  • Moerman, André (1974). Wiertz ou les égarements d'un talent. Brussels: Jacques Damasse.
  • Velghe, Brita (2005). "Antoine Wiertz. Un romantisme, autrement". In: Leen, Frederik; Marechal, Dominique; Velghe, Brita; Adriaens-Pannier, Anne; Rossi-Schrimpf, Inga. Le Romantisme en Belgique. Entre réalités, rêves et souvenirs. Brussels: Éditions Racines. ISBN 2-87386-411-7 (French)

External links

1806 in art

Events in the year 1806 in art.

1832 in art

Events from the year 1832 in art.

1836 in art

Events from the year 1836 in art.

1841 in art

Events from the year 1841 in art.

1847 in art

Events from the year 1847 in art.

1854 in art

Events from the year 1854 in art.

1865 in Belgium

Events in the year 1865 in Belgium.

1865 in art

Events from the year 1865 in art.


Ixelles (French pronunciation: [iksɛl]; Dutch: Elsene pronounced [ˈɛlsənə] (listen)) is one of the nineteen municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.

Ixelles is located in the suburbs towards the south of Brussels' city centre and is geographically bisected by the City of Brussels municipality. It is also bordered by the municipalities of Auderghem, Etterbeek, Forest, Uccle, Saint-Gilles and Watermael-Boitsfort. It is generally considered an affluent area of the city and is particularly noted for its communities of European and Congolese immigrants. In common with all the Brussels municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch).

Ixelles Cemetery

The Ixelles Cemetery (French: Cimetière d'Ixelles, Dutch: begraafplaats van Elsene), located in Ixelles in the southern part of Brussels, is one of the major cemeteries in Belgium.

The Ixelles Cemetery also refers to a neighbourhood with a lot of bars and restaurants for students, north of the actual cemetery. It is in fact located between the two main campuses of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Solbosch and La Plaine).

Joseph Jaquet

Joseph Jaquet, sometimes written Joseph Jacquet, (30 January 1822 - 9 June 1898) was a Belgian sculptor.

List of museums in Brussels

This is a list of museums in Brussels, Belgium.

It includes museums situated in any of the municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region.

List of painters by name beginning with "W"

Please add names of notable painters in alphabetical order.

Marion Wachtel (1875–1954)

Yoshihiko Wada (born 1940)

Alfons Walde (1891–1958)

Karl Walser (1877–1943)

Edward Wadsworth (1889–1949)

Lionel Walden (1861–1933)

Ada Hill Walker (1879–1955)

Zygmunt Waliszewski (1897–1936)

Kathleen Walne (1915–2011)

Wang Duo (1592–1652)

Wang E (1465–1545)

Wang Fu (1362–1416)

Wang Guxiang (1501–1568)

Wang Hui (1632–1717)

Wang Jian (1598–1677)

Wang Lü (1332–?)

Wang Meng (1308–1385)

Wang Mian (1287–1359)

Wang Shimin (1592–1680)

Wang Shishen (1686–1759)

Wang Shiyan (born 1949)

Victor Wang (b.1956)

Wang Wei (699–759)

Wang Wu (1632–1690)

Wang Ximeng (1096–1119)

Wang Yi (1333-?)

Wang Yuan

Wang Yuanqi (1642–1715)

Wang Zhenpeng

Wang Zhongyu

Everett Warner (1877–1963)

Wang Meng (1308–1385)

Laura Wheeler Waring (1887–1948)

Alfred Wallis (1855–1942)

Henry Wallis (1830–1916)

Walenty Wańkowicz (1746?–1813?)

Joan Warburton (1920–1996), British artist

Andy Warhol (1928–1987)

Watanabe Kazan (1793–1841)

Watanabe Sadao (1913–1996)

Watanabe Shōtei (1851–1918)

Watanabe Shozabūrō

John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)

Billie Waters (1896–1979), English artist

Alison Watt (born 1965)

Antoine Watteau (1684–1721)

George Frederic Watts (1817–1904)

Stokely Webster (1912–2001)

Jan Baptist Weenix (1621–1663)

Gerda Wegener (1886–1940)

Wang Wei (701–761)

Carel Weight (1908–1997)

Susan Weil (born 1930)

J. Alden Weir (1852–1919)

John Ellsworth Weis (1892–1962)

Samuel Washington Weis (1870–1956)

Jerry Weiss (born 1959)

Wojciech Weiss (1875–1950)

Neil Welliver (1929–2005)

Margaret Bruce Wells (1909–1998)

Albert Welti (1862–1912)

Albert J. Welti (1894–1965)

Wen Boren (1502–1575)

Wen Jia (1501–1583)

Wen Tong (1019–1079)

Wen Zhengming (1470–1559)

Wen Zhenheng (1585–1645)

Kurt Wenner

Marianne von Werefkin (1860–1938)

Adriaen van der Werff (1659–1722)

Joseph Werner (1637–1710)

Adolf Ulric Wertmüller (1751–1811)

Tom Wesselmann (1931–2004)

Benjamin West (1738–1820)

William Edward West (1788–1859)

Konstantin Westchilov (1877–1945)

Katerina Wilczynski (1894–1978), Polish artist

Jacob Willemszoon de Wet (1610–1691)

Rogier van der Weyden (1399–1464)

Edith Grace Wheatley (1888–1970), English painter

John Laviers Wheatley (1892–1955), Welsh painter

Bessie Wheeler (born 1876)

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)

Dee Whitcomb

Brett Whiteley (1939–1992)

Charmion von Wiegand (1896–1983)

Hans Beat Wieland (1867–1945)

Cornelis Claesz van Wieringen (1576–1633)

Antoine Wiertz (1806–1865), Belgian painter and sculptor

Bjørn Wiinblad (1918–2006)

Thomas Wijck (1616–1677)

Jan Wijnants (1632–1684)

Jerry Wilkerson (born 1943)

David Wilkie (1785–1841)

Abraham Willaerts (1603–1669)

Adam Willaerts (1577–1664)

Adolphe Willette (1857–1926)

Charles Williams (born 1965)

David Dougal Williams (1888–1944)

Neil Williams (1934–1988)

Harold Sandys Williamson (1892–1978), English painter

Carel Willink (1900–1983)

Thornton Willis (born 1936)

Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863–1958)

Donald Roller Wilson (born 1938)

Richard Wilson (1713–1782)

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805–1873)

Stanisław Witkiewicz (1855–1915)

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885–1939)

Emanuel de Witte (1617–1692)

Caspar van Wittel (1653–1736)

Uwe Wittwer (born 1954)

Emanuel Witz (1717–1797)

Konrad Witz (1410–1446)

Henry Otto Wix (1866–1922), German-born American

David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992)

Kazimierz Wojniakowski (1772–1812)

Witold Wojtkiewicz (1879–1909)

Caspar Wolf (1735–1783)

Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930)

John Wollaston (fl. 1742–1775)

John Wonnacott (born 1940)

Toss Woollaston (1910–1998)

John Christopher Wood (1901–1930)

Grant Wood (1891–1942)

Leona Wood (1921–2008)

Ursula Wood (1868–1925), English artist and illustrator

Charles H. Woodbury (1864–1940)

William Woodward (1859–1939)

Henry Woods (1846–1921)

Troels Wörsel (born 1950)

Thomas Frederick Worrall (1872-1957)

Zao Wou Ki (born 1921)

Philips Wouwerman (1619–1668)

Cindy Wright (born 1972)

Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797)

Andrzej Wróblewski (1927–1957)

Peter Wtewael (1596–1660)


Wu Bin

Wu Changshuo (1844–1927)

Wu Guanzhong (born 1919)

Wu Hong

Wu Li (1632–1718)

Wu Shixian (18??–1916)

Wu Tao-Tzu (also known as Wu Daozi) (680–740)

Wu Wei (1459–1508)

Wu Zhen (1280–1354)

Wu Zuoren (1908–1997)

Paul Wunderlich (born 1927)

Wuzhun Shifan (1178–1249)

Jan Wyck (1652–1700)

Leon Wyczółkowski (1852–1936)

Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009)

Henriette Wyeth (1907–1997)

Jamie Wyeth (born 1946)

N. C. Wyeth (1882–1945)

Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907)

Juliette Wytsman (1866–1925)

Rodolphe Wytsman (1860–1927)

Live Legacy

Live Legacy is a live album by the Swedish black metal band Dissection. It was released in 2003 by Nuclear Blast. It was recorded during a show at the Wacken Open Air festival, Germany, 8 August 1997. It was first released as a bootleg called Frozen in Wacken, which featured the art of romantic painter Antoine Wiertz on the cover. The bootleg also includes the song "Night's Blood" that was omitted from the official release due to errors in the recording.

The Limited Boxset (1000 pieces) also contains the "Gods Of Darkness - Live" DVD and CD taken from the Dimmu Borgir / Dissection video "Live &

Plugged Vol. 2" as well as a "Live Legacy" poster flag.

Paul Bouré

Paul Bouré or Paul-Joseph Bouré (2 July 1823 – 17 December 1848) was a Belgian artist. Poised to become one of the most notable sculptors of his time, he died at the age of 25.

René de Clercq

René De Clercq, born René Desiderius Declercq (Deerlijk, Belgium, 14 November 1877 – Maartensdijk, Netherlands, 12 June 1932), was a Flemish-Dutch political activist, writer, poet, and composer.

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (French: Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Dutch: Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België) are a group of art museums in Brussels, Belgium.

The Royal Museums contains over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which date from the early 15th century to the present.

The Greeks and the Trojans Fighting over the Body of Patroclus

The Greeks and the Trojans Fighting over the Body of Patroclus is an oil painting by Antoine Wiertz. Several versions of the painting exist. The first was made in year 1836 (Musée des beaux-arts de Liège).

Virginie Bovie

Virginie Bovie (1821–1888), full name Joséphine-Louise-Virginie Bovie, was a Belgian painter and arts patron. In 1870, she was described as "well known", but she has fallen into neglect in the 20th and early 21st centuries and only seven of her more than 200 works have been located.

Theologians and
Visual artists
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Constituent museums of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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