Postcard from... Brussels


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The Independent Online

The Flemish Masters are known for their sombre grey skies and damp-looking landscapes under an expanse of ominous cloud. But while the inclement weather of the low countries may have left an  unmistakable stamp on a whole body of work, it has also unfortunately closed down a Brussels exhibition showcasing one of the forefathers of the movement.

Last week, the Royal Museum of Fine Art in Brussels shut the doors to the Rogier van der Weyden exhibition after it had been open to the public for just a month. The exhibition was more than four years in the making and cost €1.5m (£1.2m) to stage, with works shipped in from museums all over the world, the Flanders News  website reported.

But eventually it fell foul to the rain and the damp seeping though the ceiling that was not quite watertight enough to withstand the Brussels weather and repair work to the roof. The museum website said it was a “difficult decision” to close down the show, but said it was the only way to preserve “this exceptional cultural heritage”.

Museum staff had up until recently battled against the elements to keep the exhibition open, covering the paintings – dating back to the 15th century – with clear PVC.