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Bellum & Artes

Europe and the Thirty Years’ War

27 April 2024 - 12 January 2025

Public opening event

Saturday 27 April 18:00 - 21:00 

Join our guest experts, art historians and curators who will give special insights on the exhibition, experience the new classical violin and cello duo* Roshko brothers, and taste a special 17th-century inspired cocktail by Chemistry & Botanic’s.

More information & registration.


The upcoming international exhibition centres on the role of arts during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). Named Bellum et Artes (War and Art), the exhibition unravels the complex interplay between conflict and artistic expression. 

Bellum et Artes explores an early large-scale conflict in Europe through the warring parties’ strategic employment of the arts as a military propaganda tool and to accentuate their power. It goes on to demonstrate the impact of works of art as ‘ambassadors of peace’. The migration of artists and the displacement of artistic treasures during this period are subjects which can be analysed through interactive media stations. Furthermore, Bellum et Artes delves into the struggle for peace, illuminating political schemes and the genesis of legal and political principles that continue to have relevance today. 

Running until early 2025, the exhibition is accompanied by events on the theme of “War and Art”  — such as guided tours and film screenings — enriching visitors’ understanding of the first pan- European war and the significance of this subject matter for our times. 

Bellum et Artes is a Europe-wide research project involving a dozen institutions from seven countries, coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe and the Dresden State Art Collections. The exhibition in Brussels has been co-curated with the House of European History team and highlights the main results and findings of this international collaboration. 

The Exhibition

The conflicts during the Thirty Years’ War had a profound impact on Europe, scarring the continent. The Bohemian Revolt of 1618 sparked a prolonged war until 1648, intertwining various battles — fuelled by power struggles, religious tensions and claims of supremacy — with political landscapes across the regions. 

The actors of war and the role of art

How does war work?

The horrors of war

War in the media

Art and artists during the war

The road to peace

Europe after 1648: war and peace

Partner institutions

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