Discover Benelux | Culture | Lifestyle Columns
STATES OF AR T
Take that, Da Vinci! Unless you have been living under a rock recently, it will not have escaped your attention that a painting by a fellow called Leonardo da Vinci sold for rather a lot of money at auction recently. The diminutive painting smashed its estimate and left records in its wake, as it became the most expensive painting ever sold; the hammer finally coming down at $450 million. This is a staggering amount of money, the sale raises a plethora of questions; both moral and practical. But at the heart of the issue remains the question why do people spend so much on art? Why collect art? It is a particularly pertinent question to frame in the context of the Benelux region, where it is thought there are more art collectors per cap-
TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK | PHOTO: MUSEUM VOORLINDEN
ita than in any other region across the globe. Indeed, look at any list of influential collectors, and there will always be a smattering representing the region. But why is this the case? Love? Passion? Money? Listening to some of them, the reasons seem simple. Ingrained within the national psyche there is a deep respect for art, stemming form the long history and lineage of the region. After all, these are the countries that gave us Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Rubens amongst many more. There is also a realisation that art is to be seen and to be shared, and many collectors have opened the doors to their collections, making them accessible to the public. To see the best in the region head to Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar, Vanhaerents in Brussels and Villa Vauban in Luxembourg to see a range of clas-
Photo: Pietro Savorelli, courtesy of Museum Voorlinden
sic and contemporary artworks, bought and collected over the centuries. Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.
BEER OF THE MONTH
St Feuillien Tripel This strong ale is a creation of the familyowned St Feuillien Brewery in the Belgian municipality of Le Roeulx, 50 kilometres south-west of Brussels. It is a beer with markedly more power than is initially apparent. It is by no means a boozy tasting beer. This is a well-crafted ale whose taste is smooth and deliciously fruity with hints of spice. If it was a boxer it would be a deceptive, fleet-footed middleweight with the punch of a heavyweight. Do not even think about trying to go 12 rounds with this ale! The brewery was founded by Stéphanie Friart in 1873. It is still independent and family run, five generations on. The St Feuillien Brewery is one of the 22 members of the Belgian Family Brewers association. That body’s red, yellow and black logo appears on bottles of St Feuillien Tripel. Over the past decade the family has invested to modernise their brewery, which brews
TEXT AND PHOTO: STUART FORSTER
Abbey-style ales, of which this is one. Saison, IPA and fruit beers are also produced. The fruitiness of St Feuillien Tripel bursts onto the palette. It presents a touch of sweetness then rolls into a pleasant bitterness. That twists away to leave a smooth, lingering fruitiness. The colour of this beer is amber. Bottle fermentation means a residue of yeast, which you can choose to add to the glass, or not, during the pour. The aroma has elements of spiciness but, ultimately, it is the fruitiness that wins through. This is a beer that pairs well with mature, deep yellow cheeses. Alternatively, enjoy it with fireside conversation on a cold winter night. It is the season for such pleasures.
Brewer: Brasserie St-Feuillien Strength: 8.5 per cent
Stuart Forster was twice named Journalist of the Year at the 2015 and 2016 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.
Issue 48 | December 2017 | 89