Historical Context of Belgium
Belgium has been an important artistic centre since the later years of the nineteenth century. As a small country, bordered by both France and the Netherlands, it has been subjected to significant influence by both the French and Flemish cultures. In the late 19th century, as the era of the avant-garde in Europe began, the Belgian capital of Brussels was a significant centre for the Art Nouveau movement, which included the architect Victor Horta amongst its founders. The Symbolist movement was also a significant artistic trend that was greatly influenced by Belgian artists. Key practitioners of this important early precursor to Surrealism include Léon Spilliaert, Jean Delville, Fernand Khnopff and James Ensor.