Historical Context of Belgium
Belgium has been an important artistic hub since the later years of the 19th 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 nineteenth century, as the era of the avant-garde in Europe began, the Belgian capital of Brussels was an important hub for the Art Nouveau movement, which included the architect Victor Horta amongst its founders. The Symbolist movement was also a main 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.