Belgium: Joke Schauvliege

Joke Schauvliege

Article by Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Culture:

Jean Fouquet depicts the virgin Mary seated on a throne, as becomes the Queen of Heaven. His style is inspired by that of the Flemish Primitives and the painter brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck. It is assumed that Agnes Sorel, the mistress of king Charles VII of France, stood as a model for the painting. Her fashionable attire, the shaved receding hairline and her ermine cloak are all tokens of her respectability, which somewhat contrasts with the slight eroticism with which the painting is imbued.

Selected Item from Europeana

Madonna omringd door serafijnen en cherubijnen

This is definitely a masterpiece in the collection of the Royal Museum for Fine Arts of Antwerp (KMSKA). Through the composition and colour use there is an outlandishly contemporary feel to it. The bright blue and red of the seraphims and cherubs contrast with Mary’s and Jesus’s milky skins and feel slightly unreal. Still, everything makes sense. As if the French painter attempted to reconcile fire and water. I regard the painting as a metaphor for the political context in which Europeana and the sector of cultural heritage operate : it proves that with due willingness and creativity, cultural and economic interests are indeed compatible. Along with the organisations involved in the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage, Europeana faces the challenge of showing itself a master in reconciling the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe with everyday practice in museums and the public role bestowed on these. 

Blog post in Flemish:

Jean Fouquet laat de maagd Maria tronen als hemelkoningin. Zijn stijl is gebaseerd op die van de Vlaamse primitieven en schilderbroers Hubert en Jan van Eyck. Mogelijks stond Agnes Sorel, de geliefde van Karel VII, model. Haar erg modieuze kleding, het hoog weggeschoren haar en de mantel van hermelijn duiden op haar voornaamheid. Tegelijk heeft het geheel iets licht erotisch.

Dit is een absoluut topstuk uit de collectie van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerpen. Compositie- en kleurgebruik zijn merkwaardig hedendaags. Het felle blauw en rood van de serafijnen en cherubijnen contrasteert met de melkwitte huid van Maria en Jezus, en doet wat irreëel aan. Toch klopt alles. Alsof de Franse schilder water en vuur verzoent. Ik zie het als een metafoor voor de politieke context waarin Europeana en het cultureel erfgoed zich bevindt: culturele en economische belangen kunnen – met goede wil en creativiteit – samengaan. Europeana staat zij aan zij met de cultureel-erfgoedorganisaties voor de uitdaging om de doelstellingen van de Digitale Agenda voor Europa op meesterlijke wijze te verzoenen met de dagelijkse praktijk in musea en hun publieke taak.

4 thoughts on “Belgium: Joke Schauvliege

  1. Ms Schauvliege is only one of our 4 ministres of culture in Belgium. She is definitly not the minister of Culture of Belgium. She is the minister of culture of Flanders, not Belgium. Question : the others Belghian ministers of culture were they consulted by Ms Schauvliege before the choice ?

  2. My comment of yesterday has been ignored ! I insist : Joke Sschauvliege is definitively not ministre of Culture of Belgium but she is ministre of Flanders. There is no ministre of Culture for Belgium but three ministres, one in each Community for each Community ! No federal ministre. Her choice are no Belgian choice but Flemish one.

  3. Thank you for your comments and I reassure you that they were not ignored – we have a moderation filter on the blog to avoid SPAM.

    I have added ‘Flemish’ to Ms. Schauvliege’s title, I hope that this is clear now – however she is representing Belgium with her choice, despite the fact that she is the Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Culture.

    This entry was provided by ‘Departement Cultuur Jeugd Sport en Media’.

  4. On the other hand, there is a “Flemish” too much, as that language in the second blog post is called ‘Dutch’, not Flemish. It’s a widespread misconception that Dutch and Flemish are two languages. Although a tiny minority with extreme linguistic or political agendas keeps this misconception alive.

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