There's two new museums of art in Belgium: the first shows off the work of Hergé, the illustrator/cartoonist who created the character of Tintin
, seen above on one of his daring adventures with his faithful dog, Snowy. La Musée Hergé
building itself (see below) is as mysterious as the many Adventures of Tintin
, appearing to float on the flat Belgian landscape like one of the ocean liners the intrepid boy journalist sailed upon in search of answers to murders, jewel thefts, kidnappings.
In Brussels, an elegant and discreet townhouse takes one to a strange yet familiar world of floating bowler hats, and windows looking over dreamy landscapes, clouds, skies, though some of the vistas start to look peculiar on closer inspection, and a train emerges from the fireplace... this is the Magritte Museum
, which showcases the work of that other famous Belgian, Rene Magritte, who is perhaps the greatest of Surrealists aside from Salvador Dali.
I am much more familiar with Tintin than Magritte, given that the Adventures of Tintin books from my local library fired my childhood imagination into a raging furnace, growing up as I did in a television-free home. Like some American superheroes (Superman, Spiderman), Tintin is a journalist, though as some point out, he is rarely seen working, and is more often holding a pistol or a magnifying glass than a notebook and pen.
That didn't matter to me when I was a child: the Economist
points out that on a recent visit to the Hergé Museum, the building glowed with its magical internal world of colorful, exotic landscapes, "as outside a steady drizzle falls against the windows from leaden skies." Doesn't that sound just like Northern Ireland?
Tintin the reporter, rarely seen doing any reporting or writing, still gets himself into the papers...