Flemish Masters

Food & drinks, festivals, cycling

Hello there! It's me, Bacchus, the god of wine and the ambassador of good living. Rubens understood that very well, and portrayed me lovingly and with excellent taste. There is much to be done in Flanders between now and 2020. We're celebrating our Flemish Masters. I'll guide you through the culinary programme.

Think of Flanders and you think of fabulous food and 'joie de vivre' that is out of this world.

And I'll provide you with the go-to places.

Eaten and drunk enough? Now it's time for a mental boost.

Meet my friends.

Discover the painting of Bacchus

Bacchus

Peter Paul Rubens, 'Bacchus' (1638-1640) - © The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

Painter: Peter Paul Rubens

Well hello there! It's me, Bacchus, well-respected god of wine and debauchery. I'm the son of Zeus and the Theban Queen Semele, and one of the most important and most respected gods in the Graeco-Roman pantheon. Some people know me as Dionysius but you may call me Bacchus. I'm all about simply enjoying life. Let me be your guide through culinary Flanders. And I know everything about the excellent music festivals in Flanders.

Bacchanalia were a favourite theme in Rubens's work, although I was rarely the subject of his paintings. This is perhaps why Rubens painted me with such devotion. Traditionally, other painters show me as a slim youth with a handsome face. Rubens showed me as a corpulent reveller. Seated on my thorne, a wine-barrel. As you might notice, one of my legs is resting on a tiger, it all makes me look both repulsive and majestic. Rubens conceived me as "the apotheosis of earth's fruitfulness and the beauty of man and his natural instincts". Well, I'm charmed. In terms of painting technique, this must be one of the pearls of the Hermitage collection.