The entry of Christ into Brussels in 1889 – James Ensor – 1888
The town of Ostend, where Ensor was born, changed, from a small fishing town to became a tourist destination in Belgium. That’s why, lots of times, he uses the symbol of the mask. In this painting, we see some kind of a carnival mixed with a political demonstration and, Christ, in the middle, entering Brussels.
In 1879, the liberal government of Belgium had banned the religious education thorought the country to weaken the power of the church and, in 1886, the king of Belgium had declared the need of better conditions for the working class . In the painting, we see Christ entering, but not getting much attention of the people in the demonstration.
Maybe, Ensor wants to show us the different positions regarding the decision of the liberal government. On one hand, we hace the ones who see the need of a Godless nation (“Long live to the social revolution” is read on the sign centered above); on the other, the one who see the need of the religious education in schools (as we see in the sign on the below far right, which says “Long live Jesus Christ, king of Brussels”).