In the 1820s, the world’s first railway lines appeared in Great Britain and quickly became the ultimate symbol of modernity. In 1835, the Belgians followed suit—King Leopold I inaugurated a line that connected Brussels with the northern town of Mechelen. Rapid travel profoundly changed the fabric of European society, and trains became an object of fascination for artists—Impressionists, Futurists and Surrealists alike. Monet, Caillebotte, and Ottmann caught the train’s steam, light, and movement, and the Lumière brothers featured a train in the world’s first cinema screening. This exhibition explores the “iron horse” as an image and a symbol—cultural, psychological, sexual, modern. —E.C.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium Rue de la Régence 3, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium Get Directions »