The Grotesques. A fascinating fantasy world

Exuberant decorations in drawings and prints of 16th-century imaginative, freakish, bizarre and monstrous, but also caricatural and ridiculous, figures and creatures. You will discover them during the exhibition at the Plantin-Moretus Museum from 5 April to 15 September 2019.

From Nero...

On the walls of Nero's royal palace, Domus Aurea, visitors discovered never-before-seen frescos with lavish, symmetrical decorations, and bizarre animals and legendary creatures. These frescos became known as ‘grotesques’, due to the finds being discovered in 'grotto-like' ruins.

To the renaissance...

Ever since the renaissance, artists have been inspired by the ancient grotesques. It was Hans Vredeman de Vries and Cornelis Floris who introduced these exuberant, imaginative decorations to the Low Countries in their prints. Thanks to their works with endless variations, they spread the grotesque ornamentation to other art forms such as painting, architecture, goldsmithery, glass painting and book printing.

To Ensor and Carll Cneut

James Ensor, Fred Bervoets and René De Coninck are modern artists who followed in the footsteps of Bosch and Bruegel, the main pioneers of ‘grotesque’ in the 16th century. Illustrator Carll Cneut was inspired by the ‘grotesque’ collection and created five brand-new works for the exhibition at Plantin-Moretus.

The exhibition

Discover prints from Vredeman de Vries and Frans Floris, exceptional 16th century sketches by Paul Vredeman de Vries and prints by Bosch, Bruegel, Ensor, De Coninck and Cneut.

Cornelis Bos, Foto: Bart Huysmans en Michel Wuyts


Vrijdagmarkt 22

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Opening Days

From: 2019-04-05 Until: 2019-09-15
2 10:00 - 17:00
3 10:00 - 17:00
4 10:00 - 17:00
5 10:00 - 17:00
6 10:00 - 17:00
0 10:00 - 17:00

Special opening days

Special closing days

Individual visitors

Price per person: 8

Reduction rates

Card holders

City Card: .



Minimum people per group.

Maximum people per group.

Price per person: € 8

Price per group: €



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