Lonely Planet review
The prestigious Royal Museums of Fine Arts incorporate the Musée d’Art Ancien (ancient art); the Musée d’Art Moderne (modern art), with works by surrealist Paul Delvaux and fauvist Rik Wouters; and the purpose-built Musée Magritte. The 15th-century Flemish Primitives are wonderfully represented in the Musée d’Art Ancien: there's Rogier Van der Weyden’s Pietà with its hallucinatory dawn sky, Hans Memling’s refined portraits, and the richly textured Madonna With Saints by the Master of the Legend of St Lucy.
Pieter the Elder was the greatest of the Brueghel family of artists, whose humorous and tender scenes feature a wealth of lively rustic detail.The most-famous example is the Fall of Icarus , where the hero’s legs disappearing into the waves are overshadowed by the figure of an unconcerned ploughman and a jaunty ship. Inspired by Renaissance artists, Antwerp painter Peter Paul Rubens specialised in fleshy religious works, of which there are several colossal examples here. Look out too for Anthony van Dyck’s contemplative human studies, Cornelius de Vos’ charming family portrait, and works by Rembrandt and Frans Hals.