about Ruskin in Brussels

 by Pablo Kaskins

Why Brussels?

You live in Brussels but perhaps it is not your native city. You feel positive and you want to give Brussels a/ another chance to reveal its secrets. You are optimistic and enjoy the Arts. This blog intends to convey ideas for your spare time and the space around you in Brussels because this is where you spend most of your life. I have lived in Brussels for more than 10 years and the city still surprises me every day.

In this blog I want to engage with you, my dear reader, in a debate on how to live more aesthetically. Brussels is a beautiful city with splendid opportunities to improve our lives. Its cultural scene is vibrant. Its atmosphere – multicultural. There are plenty of parks, gardens, and squares. Its heritage is impressive and alive. Brussels is beautiful outdoors and indoors. We have the privilege to live in historic houses with much more room than our friends in Paris, London, Rome, or Madrid. Our lives and our houses are demanding us to change up the gear to fully enjoy life in this beautiful city of ours.

Why Ruskin?

I find a man who wrote, “If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples,”“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them,” and, among other million quotes, “There is no wealth but life,” so inspiring that I could not help using his name for this blog. He lived in London more than a century ago, facing the challenges of the industrial society of his time, and became a mentor for a new generation of artists who would name themselves “Aesthetics” or, later, “Art Nouveau”, the only genuine artistic movement of the nineteenth century, so present in our beloved Brussels. This movement, also labelled less romantically as “Arts & Crafts”, intended to help everyone to lead an artistic life, surrounded by beautiful objects which would be admired and appreciated for their own value, independently of their market price. I propose that we share that spirit to lead an artistically-inspired life in the 21st century.

I cover in this blog three areas connected in some ways with the quotes of John Ruskin:

  • If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples.” I would like to help you to appreciate what you have at home or increase it at reasonable prices. I am a regular at Brussels’ auctions, which I comment regularly in this blog.

  • Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.” I am very fond of plants and gardening. Brussels is a wonderful place to have a garden, indoors or outdoors, on a balcony, a windowsill, or in the backyard. I comment also on my discoveries of gardens in and around Brussels.

  • There is no wealth but life.” It is a fundamental truth that we enjoy life while we live it. The accumulation of capital, while it might make economic sense, does not increase our aesthetic pleasure. Especially in music, because no one can own a work by Beethoven for himself/herself. Music is, by definition, impossible to possess, but other forms of art are also the more valuable because we enjoy them together with other people, because we feel how other people react differently in identical situations. Like the city itself, its value is much more than the sum of its elements. I comment on the cultural scene in Brussels.