Painting for Posterity: Belghiums Golden Anniversary Recorded on Canvas: De picturale herinnering aan het gouden jubileum van de Belgische onafhankelijkheid

Werner Adriaenssens, Thomas Deprez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

When Belgium celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, in 1880, the government spared no expense in ensuring the occasion was marked in fitting style. A largescale ‘National Exhibition’ was held on the site of the former military exercise-ground on the Linthout plateau. Devoted to industry and arts-and-crafts, the show featured a series of festive events, the grandest of which was the ‘Patriotic Gala’, held on 16 August. Besides securing wide coverage in the press, this gathering was committed to canvas for posterity by the painter Camille Van Camp (1834–1891). The article describes the genesis of this work, which depicted the high point of the event, when the king was greeted by the official delegations. It explains that the painter undertook the task on his own initiative, describes his meticulous preparation and execution of the painting, identifies the source of his inspiration (Jan Verhas’s Parade of the Schools in 1878), and recounts how, despite his best efforts, he was unable to persuade the Belgian government to buy his magnum opus which remained unfinished.
Although the painting’s aesthetic qualities fell short when it came to impressing the government of the day, the picture now has considerable value as a historical and art-historical document— not least because of the many prominent figures of Belgian society it depicts.
Original languageFrench
Title of host publicationBruxelles Patrimoines
Place of PublicationBrussels
Pages42-55
Number of pages14
Volume31
Edition2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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