Bernard van Orley, Portrait de Marguerite d’Autriche

This spring, as part of the Pieter Bruegel the Elder commemorative year, BOZAR celebrates artistic creation in the hustle and bustle of the sixteenth century. 

BOZAR kick-starts the Bruegel Year with one of his forerunners: Bernard van Orley (1488 – 1541), who was one of the key figures in the Brussels artistic scene during the Renaissance. While still a young man he headed up one of the most prominent art studios of his time. His innovative style captured the imagination of the elite of the day, including the courts of Margaret of Austria, Maria of Hungary and Emperor Charles. He was given prestigious commissions for opulent wall hangings, paintings and stained glass windows. Besides commissions from the political elite, Van Orley could draw on clients from an extensive network of influential clergymen and humanist intellectuals. To satisfy the huge demand he ran his studio as an artist-cum-entrepreneur. Several of his pupils, such as Michiel Coxcie, Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Pieter de Kempeneer also went on to make a name for themselves.

For the first time ever BOZAR has assembled a hundred or so pieces by the artist Bernard van Orley, on loan from some of the largest collections in the world. 

More information:

Curators: Dr Véronique Bücken, curator of 15th – 16th century paintings, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium & Dr Ingrid De Meûter, curator of wall hangings and textiles, Art & History Museum Brussels
Coproduction: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Art & History Museum Brussels


Bernard van Orley, Portrait de Marguerite d’Autriche  © Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique / Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België