The Sculpture Too Scandalous To See

Today was a lovely day in central Brussels. I bought my lunchtime sandwich and gravitated towards the Cinquantenaire park (I normally go to the Ambiorix park which is nearer my office, but fancied a change).

And I found my attention caught by the closed, dilapidated pavilion beside the mosque:

Its a strong neo-classical building, one of the early works of the great architect Victor Horta, but firmly locked up so that the Belgian public cannot see what is inside it.

And what is inside it? A huge sculpture by Jef Lambeaux, depicting the Human Passions. There are varying stories as to why it is locked away from public view. Some say that Lambeaux himself was dissatisfied with the way the light fell on it, and demanded it be closed off. Some say that the subject matter was too scandalous for the public of 1889 to cope with, and popular outcry demanded that it be locked away. The building itself looks rather insecure these days and probably it is no longer safe to enter.

Of course, in these days of the internet you can get photographs of the whole thing taken on the few days per decade that it is open:

(Picture by Travis Nelson)

But not having Wikipedia with me at lunchtime, I had to fantasise from the flash of scandalous sculpture that I could see through the keyhole:

I almost hope that they don’t succeed in restoring it and opening it to the public. It is interesting to have a huge but mysteriously hidden work of art within five minute’s walk of the centre of the EU.

One thought on “The Sculpture Too Scandalous To See

  1. I love that there’s a 200 comment discussion about the rainbows. 🙂

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