Sneaky Peak... A glimpse through a strangely controversial door.
Detail of Jef Lambeaux's 'The Human Passions', (1889) housed in the Horta Pavilion, (1889-1899) Cinquantenaire Park, Brussels.
This building was Horta's first commission in Brussels. Essentially a small classical temple, it hints at Horta's potential to rethink architecture, to break rules, invent new forms, and to play with light and space.
The commission was dogged with controversy from the start. The chief issue was the format of the facade.
Horta's vision was that the sculpture should be visible at all times, the portico open. Lambeaux wanted the relief to be enclosed. Then it would appear more massive, its drama accentuated by limited illumination. Shafts of natural light from the glazed roofs above would cast deeper shadows, heightening the plasticity of his contorted composition.
The arguments delayed the opening of the pavilion until 1899. Three days later it was closed, the public scandalised by Lambeaux's sexually-charged work.
Eventually, in 1909, Horta built the wall and door, as Lambeaux - and the public - wanted. But the sculptor never saw the completed pavilion, nor celebrated his victory over Victor. He died in 1908.
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