The angel of evil
Antoine Wiertz is the national Belgian painter.
Here we see the Angel of Evil, a monumental painting, which oozes some strange and disquieting atmosphere.
After difficult negotiations with the Belgian government, Wiertz was able to realize his dream to turn his last studio into a museum for his works. The Belgian State bought a piece of land and funded the construction of a huge hall to accommodate the painter's monumental works. In exchange, Wiertz donated all his works to the Belgian State, with the express proviso that they should remain in his studio both during and after his lifetime.
Wiertz died in his studio. His remains were embalmed in accordance with Ancient Egyptian burial rites and buried in a vault in the municipal cemetery of Ixelles (Elsene.)
Wiertz' monumental painting moves between classical academism and lurid romanticism, between the grandiose and the ridiculous.
Although his work was often derided as art pompier, his pictorial language nevertheless preannounced symbolism and a certain kind of surrealism, two currents that would be very strong in Belgian painting.