Enlightened in Flanders
In 17th century painting, there is a clear hierarchy. Mythological and religious scenes, as well as portraits, are the ultimate in painting. Still life, flowers in vases and landscapes are on the bottom of the wishlist.
Women in Flanders enjoy their freedom.
In those days, women rarely painted for any reason than as a hobby, with the subjects often being rather innocent. It was almost unthinkable that a woman would paint a naked man in a mythological scene.
Enter Michaeline Wautier! This female Baroque artist painted everything, from vases of flowers to portraits and grand mythological scenes. And this was all done with the greatest of skill. She was just as, if not more talented than the men of her time. Flanders during the Baroque period was way ahead of its time. Women enjoyed more freedom here than in other parts of Europe.
Making flowers and plants into art
Today we have our very own flower artists such as Daniel Ost and Mark Colle. Both gentlemen adorn many international catwalks with their flower arrangements. Or there is Thierry Boutémy whose flowers helped the film Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola to glory.
And let's not forget such flower festivals as the Gentse Floraliën or the spectacular Brussels flower carpet that are part of the cultural heritage of Flanders.
If you would rather enjoy nature in its purest form, make sure you find time to take a walk through the magical Hallerbos during the bluebell season.