Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp and Mad Meg aka Dulle Griet

In 2019, Museum Mayer van den Bergh in the Lange Gasthuisstraat in Antwerp welcomed back ‘Mad Meg‘ or ‘Dulle Griet‘ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Thanh and I visited her twice now.

The painting takes its name from the woman you can see running to the left at the bottom of the painting, wearing some kind of armour. Compared with everyone else, she’s humongous. 

Mad Meg is running past the gaping mouth of Hell. Behind her, women have apparently started ransacking. Male soldiers are entering the scene on the right and there are all kinds of bizarre monsters, strange creatures and weird structures. The horizon appears to be on fire. 

You couldn’t call this fascinating work light-hearted –chaotic would be closer to the mark. When Fritz Mayer van den Bergh had just bought it, specialist Max Friedländer aptly called it “a volcanic painting”.

Mad Meg is famous in Flanders thanks to her appearances in comics by Willy Vandersteen such as ‘Spike and Suzy‘ (‘Suske en Wiske‘) and ‘De Geuzen‘.

More

But the museum offers more. Other highlights include ‘Pissing at the Moon‘ and religion-inspired art.

Museum Mayer van den Bergh is a small museum and ideal of you have an hour or so to spare. Not every museum visit should be a day-filling enterprise. 

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