Bruges is a surprising wonderful location for art lovers offering a fantastic and diverse selection of collections ranging from archaeology to modern-art. The Musea Brugge is the institution in charge for Raakvlak (the inter-municipal archaeological service for Bruges and its outskirts) and for the Bruges cultural inheritance department, is a comprehensive name that refers to all the sixteen different historical museums of Bruges. Rich in variety and quality, housing artworks from the Flemish Primitives up to more recent fine arts, furniture, silver and folklore Musea Brugge can provide the visitors with a marvellous and significant survey of the history – not only artistic – of the enchanting Bruges.
These numerous venues can be easily arranged by themes: Groeningemuseum and the Arentshuis. Forum+ Concertgebouw can be considered the framework for contemporary arts of Musea Brugge hosting artistic works from the 15th to 21st century. Hospitaalmuseum includes two historical hospitals: the old Saint John’s Hospital, (now Memling in Sint-Jan museum) famous for its collection of paintings by the great master of the Flemish Primitives Hans Memling; and the O.L.V.-ter-Potterie (Our Lady of the Potteries) known for its Baroque church and its outstanding silver-work. Finally the Bruggemuseum gathers The Historical Museums of Bruges: a omni-comprehensive title for the eleven historical museum of Bruges among which : Archeologie, Belfort, Brugse Vrije, Gentpoort, Gezelle, Gruuthuse, Koeleweimolen, Stadhuis, Volkskunde.
Particularly fascinating is The Groeninge Museum, practically Bruges museum of Fine Arts. A collection which has started in early 1700, focused on Bruges artists and characterised by the rich presence of a marvellous collection of the Flemish Primitives that so innovated painting art in the late Middle-Age among which outstand two masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck: The “Madonna with Canon Joris van der Paele” (1436) and the portrait of the artist’s wife “Margareta”. Among many anonymous Masters from Bruges the museum exhibits “The baptism of Christ” by Gerard David, The “Death of the Holy Virgin” by Hugo van der Goes, “The Justice of King Cambyses” and “The altar of Saint Christopher” by Hans Memling.
Groeningemuseum also exhibits artworks of Renaissance and Baroque from Bruges: painting by Lanceloot Blondeel, Jan Provoost, Adriaan Isenbrant; as well as from the Brabant and Antwerp: Pieter Bruegel, Jan van Hemesssen, Cornelis van Cleve. An interesting display Bruges artists’ pieces of late 1800/early 1900 such as Albert Gregorius, Joseph Suvée and Jozef Ducq and and Flemish expressionist paintings from the school of Sint-Martens-Latem. Contemporary pieces of Marcel Broodthaers and Roger Raveel are finally exhibited.
Since 2004 Bruggemuseum is undergoing a massive re-development (expected completion in 2010) in order to represent Bruges’ art, culture, society and history from as many perspectives as possible, thus aiming at becoming a world famous model of showcase for “city’s history”.