The cloister with its chapel and the view onto an enclosed garden is one of the most remarkable exhibit tours at the Cinquantenaire Museum.A medieval ambiance created by the Gothic-style architecture perfectly matches the beautifully-worked baptismal fonts, the gravestones of knights and other dignitaries in black Tournai marble, as well as the other Romanesque and Gothic works. These works are part of the stone sculpture collection exhibited in one of the museum’s three completely renovated wings.
In the adjacent hall, pride of place has now been given to precision instruments. Among the exhibits are magnificent examples of watch-making, such as ornamental machines, rhinestone clocks and celestial clocks. Instruments designed to measure the earth and the heavens are both beautiful and intriguing. In fact, there is no need to be technically gifted to understand how an astrolabe, sundial or surveyor’s circle works, and you can try them all out using reproductions. The celestial globes, planispheres and telescopes are also fascinating and provide an insight into the history of astronomy.
The chapel area focuses on metal artwork. Key items from the Dinant area are without a doubt the baptismal font from the Saint Germanus church in Tienen (1149) and the Saint-Ghislain candle stand and lectern (1442). Whether for functional or religious objects, the brass and pewter work show the extensive skills of the craftsmen of that era. Lastly, expertly made keys, locks, door knockers, decorative latticework and cases show how ornamental metalwork evolved from the Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century.