Historical Context of Belgium
Surrounded by France and the Netherlands, the modest country of Belgium has been considerably influenced by its neighbours throughout time and asserted itself as an exciting and innovative artistic centre in the later part of the nineteenth century. Belgian art productions were essential in the unfolding of Surrealism in the 1930s, primarily through the works of Rene Magritte and Paul Delvaux. Among others, Marcel Broodthaers, Wim Delvoye, Francis Alys and Luc Tuymans are key figures of the Belgian art scene of the twentieth century. Highly influenced by Belgian artists, the Symbolist movement was a major artistic trend, early precursor to Surrealism, and including artists such as Léon Spilliaert, Jean Delville, Fernand Khnopff and James Ensor. As the era of the avant-garde began to take place in Europe towards the late nineteenth century, Brussels turned into a focal point for the Art Nouveau movement, which included the architect Victor Horta amongst its founders.