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Drunken ship entering Brussels

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Description

“Drunken ship entering Brussels” by Erik Pevernagie, oil on canvas, 100 x 130 cm


The Bible teaches us that “Fools are in numerous” (« Stultorum infinitus est numerus »).

Plato gives us already a description of a ship filled with crackers floating without pilot, making an allusion to the state governing without vision.

In the Middle-Ages fools were embarked on barges ( “ships of fools”) in order to get rid of them, somewhere else in the country. In 1494 Sebastian Brant gives us a pleasant illustration of a ship of fools that is filled with people who live in a carnivalesque mood of madness and takes course to Narragonia, the country of fools.

Jheronymous Bosch could, of course, not refrain from giving his peppered vision on the customs of his time in his painting.

“The drunken ship entering Brussels” is drifting fleetingly in the immersive surroundings of an otherworldly city. It floats rudderless and cramped through a harsh, abstract reality crushing on its way the “Atomium”, a symbol of the city. It forces a breach in the gate of its fantasy.

The ship is a metaphor for a population that has been described by Julius Caesar as brave but crazy, disorganized and unpredictable. “The Belgae are the bravest." ("... Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae ..."). “It is quite right to say that they were men of outstanding courage”.

In the course of the centuries the country has been a battlefield and Waterloo and Flanders’ fields have certainly left their impact on the spirit of the inhabitants, in the course of the centuries.

This country produced the surrealistic emanations of René Magritte and the eccentric displays and performances of Marcel Broodthaers, who rode on camel back through the city center, direction Museum of Fine Arts.


Phenomenon: Madness and surrealistic fantasy

Factual starting point: Ship crushing das Atomium