Brugge has always been a city rich in culture. Knowing this I investigated the many museums available and decided to visit the Groeninges Museum and the Sint-Jans Hospitaalmuseum.
The Onze- Lieve Vrouwekerk or Church of Our Lady is on the way to the Groeninges. It currently is hosting the Michelangelo sculpture of Madonna with Child. Stop and see the church as while it is undergoing renovation it remains a beautiful work of art despite scaffolding.
As you leave the church journey over the Groeninges Bridge to the museum. This is the oldest bridge in Brugge. Boats filled with tourists pass under the bridge as you cross. Take a moment to observe the outcropping of flowers growing from the brick structures. Gardens abound everywhere in Brugge, even in the bricks. Taking the canal ride is priceless, but, remember to bring cash as for this magic moment charge cards are not accepted.
Once over the bridge there is another garden with sculptures. Here I had a picnic lunch with a visit from a friendly Brugge dog wishing I had a hot dog rather than lettuce. With the sun was warm, citizens and tourists friendly it made for a pleasant lunch. Sorry I couldn’t get my Brugge friend to sit still long enough for a shot. He sure was cute.
Beyond the garden is the archway to the Groeninges Museum. This collection is mainly Flemish art with religious based pieces, expressionism, some modern art and many portraitures.
Patrons are also able to visit the nearby Arenshuis Museum with their Groeninges admission. Displayed here are the works of Sir Frank Brangywn, a native of Brugge. This proliferative artist traveled the world as he created etchings, lithographs, paintings and even furniture. His work is seen globally from New York City to New Zealand. As an avid museum buff I was impressed with his range and work.
Outside the museum a market selling antiques which spanned the length of the street along the canal was being held. Brugge market days are listed as Wednesday and Saturday, however, when I passed this area on Sunday it was once again open.
My next visit was the Sint-Jans Hospitaalmuseum. This museum is housed in one of the oldest hospitals in the world. Admission is priced on the number of venues selected and there are coupons in the museum flyer. I chose the special exhibits of Warhol, Picasso and the Egyptian Mummies, however, their permanent collection showcases Hans Memling and other European legends. Medieval hospital wards are also displayed with artifacts of the era.
The special exhibits were fascinating and well worth the price of the visit. There is a europass to cover the cost for some of the museums. A 3 day pass is 20E and available via the internet or at the train station.
The Warhol exhibit contained an extensive Campbell soup painting collection as well as Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and Ingrid Bergman pictures. There was a concise and interesting biography of Warhol on the placards in the exhibit.
The Picasso exhibit was immense. His talents spanned painting to ceramics as well as stage design, poetry and sculpture. He is known to have created 50,000 works of art with 25,000 of them ceramic. He was also a communist and created the peace symbol of the dove.
In the mummy exhibit ornate cartonnage on the sarcophagus was seen. The mummy wrappings were totally intact. What a treasure.
Outside the Sint-Jans was a garden area to sit and relax away from the hussle and bustle of the city. Plots of herbs and other greenery make this a lovely retreat and respite after visiting the museum.
Tomorrow: Time for prayer at the beautiful churches of Brugge.