Hergé frescoes – Institut Saint-Boniface (fully booked)
The school Institut Saint-Boniface has been evolving constantly since its foundation in 1866. It was initially based in Chaussée de Wavre/Waversesteenweg, later moving to Chaussée d’Ixelles/Elsensesteenweg. In 1920, it finally settled in new premises on Rue du Viaduc/Viaductstraat following its 1911 acquisition of the boarding school run by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul in Rue du Conseil/Raadstraat and a major renovation of the complex: at last, the institute had all the space it needed. In autumn 1922, the Belgian Catholic Scouts federation encouraged its troops to refurbish the rooms that had been made available to them. The room we are interested in (measuring 8.8 x 3.5 x 3 m) is on the ground floor of the house adjoining the chapel. The unit’s scoutmaster entrusted its redecoration to the 15-year-old Georges Rémy, better known as Hergé, who completed the task with the other scouts in his patrol in spring 1923. The budding artist created a series of stencil friezes featuring 35 knights galloping one metre above the ground and 52 Indians and scouts crawling, one after the other, around the room’s walls, directly below the ceiling. Scouts clamber up ropes on either side of the room’s two doors and chimney, while above the doors, groups of scouts standing back to back pull on these ropes. A large map at the back of the room shows all the places where Hergé’s troop went on camps. The room was used for other purposes from 1925 onwards, serving among other things as a garage, thereby saving the frescoes from being painted over as the years went by. After spending decades in relative anonymity, the frescoes – a stunning example of the young Hergé’s creative imagination – were rediscovered in 2007.
Commentary available on the history of the frescoes.
The exhibition Hergé and scouting at Saint-Boniface features photographs of the Saint-Boniface scouting unit in Hergé’s day and showcases (copies of) drawings he produced while a member of the unit.
Sat. & Sun., 10:00 to 18:00
Rue du Conseil/Raadstraat 57, Ixelles/Elsene
Advance booking required