Arcade du Cinquantenaire

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Cinquantenaire Arcade
  • Arcade(s) du Cinquantenaire (French)
  • Arcade(s) van het Jubelpark (Dutch)
Brussels Cinquantenaire R03.jpg
Arcade du Cinquantenaire is located in Brussels
Arcade du Cinquantenaire
Location within Brussels
Arcade du Cinquantenaire is located in Belgium
Arcade du Cinquantenaire
Arcade du Cinquantenaire (Belgium)
General information
TypeColonnade and memorial arch
Architectural styleNeoclassical
AddressParc du Cinquantenaire / Jubelpark
Town or cityB-1000 City of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region
CountryBelgium
Coordinates50°50′25″N 4°23′34″E / 50.84028°N 4.39278°E / 50.84028; 4.39278Coordinates: 50°50′25″N 4°23′34″E / 50.84028°N 4.39278°E / 50.84028; 4.39278
Construction started4 January 1905 (4 January 1905)
Completed27 September 1905
Design and construction
Architect(s)Gédéon Bordiau, Charles Girault
DesignationsProtected (29/06/1984)
Other information
Public transit access
References
[1]

The Cinquantenaire Arcade (French: Arcade(s) du Cinquantenaire, Dutch: Arcade(s) van het Jubelpark) is a memorial arcade in the centre of the Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark in Brussels, Belgium. The centrepiece is a monumental triple arch known as the Cinquantenaire Arch (French: Arc du Cinquantenaire, Dutch: Triomfboog van het Jubelpark). It is topped by a bronze quadriga sculptural group with a female charioteer, representing the Province of Brabant personified raising the national flag.[2]

The monument is oriented facing Brussels' city centre, on one side in the axis of the Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat which, crossing the Leopold Quarter, ends in the Royal Quarter, seat of the Belgian Parliament, the Belgian Government and the Royal Palace; and on the other side, in the axis of the Avenue de Tervueren/Tervurenlaan, leads to the Palace of the Colonies [fr] (today's Royal Museum for Central Africa). This area is served by the metro stations Schuman and Merode on lines 1 and 5.

History[edit]

The Cinquantenaire Arcade was part of a project commissioned by the Belgian Government under the patronage of King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Belgian Revolution.[1] In 1880, only the bases of the memorial arch's columns were completed, and during the exhibition, the rest of the arch was constructed from wooden panels. In the following years, the monument's completion was the topic of a continuous battle between Leopold II and the Belgian Government, which did not want to spend the money required to complete it.

The original single arch of the 1880 exhibition was conceived by the architect Gédéon Bordiau, but upon his death in 1904, the arch's design was revised by the French architect Charles Girault, chosen by Leopold II.[1] Girault designed a triple arch, but preserved Bordiau's idea of the quadriga.[1] The foundation of the new arch was laid down on 4 January 1905, replacing Bordiau's temporary arch. The basic construction was completed with private funding in May of the same year and the arcade was inaugurated by Leopold II on 27 September 1905, just in time for the 75th anniversary of Belgian Independence.[1]

The monument received protected status on 29 June 1984.[1]

Panoramic view of the Cinquantenaire Arcade. The Cinquantenaire Arch was completed in 1905, replacing a previous temporary version of the arcade.

Description[edit]

Arch[edit]

The Cinquantenaire Arch, 30-metre-wide (98 ft) and 45-metre-high (148 ft), has three bays of equal dimensions. The ceiling, whose arches are semi-circular, is made up of stone caissons, decorated for half of them with a laurel wreath, and for the rest with the acronym meaning "The King, and Law, and Liberty!", one of Belgium's official pledges. The monument's decoration and the sculptures which adorn it were entrusted to the most prominent artists of the time in a spirit of national exaltation.

Quadriga[edit]

The quadriga (or Brabant Raising the National Flag) by Thomas Vinçotte and Jules Lagae

The arch's bronze quadriga, entitled Brabant Raising the National Flag, was made by Thomas Vinçotte and the horses by Jules Lagae.[1] The pedestal, facing the Avenue de Tervueren/Tervurenlaan, bears the inscription: "This monument was erected in 1905 for the glorification of the independence of Belgium", with the year shown in Roman numerals. A spiral staircase, now flanked by an elevator, provides access to the exhibition room located under the quadriga and to the two terraces located on either side of it.

Columns and sculptures[edit]

The columns echo the original layout of the Avenue de Tervueren, which was once divided into three roadways lined with a double row of trees.[1] At the foot of the arch, a total of eight statues depicting personifications of Belgian provinces can be found on either sidewall (Brabant being represented by the quadriga): Hainaut and Limburg by Albert Desenfans, Antwerp and Liège by Charles van der Stappen, East Flanders and West Flanders by Jef Lambeaux, and Namur and Luxembourg by Guillaume de Groot.[1] Twelve spandrels are decorated with allegories of Arts and Industry.[1]

Colonnade and frieze[edit]

The originally open colonnade was closed at the rear by a wall in 1905, which starting in 1912, was decorated with a 360 m2 (3,900 sq ft) mosaic frieze with the theme "the glorification of peaceful and heroic Belgium", by Jean Delville. He was then joined by several other artists.[1] The mosaic decoration was completed in 1932.

Location and accessibility[edit]

The various buildings of the Cinquantenaire, of which the arch forms the centrepiece, host three museums; the Royal Military Museum, the Art & History Museum and Autoworld vintage car museum. In front of the arch lies a large esplanade cutting through the Cinquantenaire Park. The Temple of Human Passions by Victor Horta, a remainder from 1886, and the Great Mosque of Brussels from 1978, are located in the north-western corner of the park. The surrounding park esplanade is used for several purposes in the summer, such as military parades and drive-in movies. It is also the starting point for the 20 km of Brussels, an annual run with 30,000 participants.

Lines 1 and 5 of the Brussels Metro and the Belliard Tunnel from the Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat pass underneath the park, the latter partly in an open section in front of the arch. The nearest metro stations are Schuman to the west of the park, and Merode immediately to the east.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (2009–2010). "Arcade et hémicycle" (in French). Brussels. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  2. ^ McDonald 2011, p. 113.

Bibliography[edit]

  • McDonald, George (2011). Frommer's Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-06151-0.