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Musée des Beaux-Arts

Rouen / France

"Musée des Beaux Arts" (French for "Museum of Fine Arts") is a poem written by W. H. Auden in December 1938 while he was staying in Brussels, Belgium, with Christopher Isherwood.[1] It was first published under the title "Palais des beaux arts" (Palace of Fine Arts) in the Spring 1939 issue of New Writing, a modernist magazine edited by John Lehmann.[2] It next appeared in the collected volume of verse Another Time (New York: Random House, 1940), which was followed four months later by the English edition (London: Faber and Faber, 1940).[3] The poem's title derives from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels, famous for its collection of Early Netherlandish painting. Auden visited the Musée and would have seen a number of works by the "Old Masters" of his second line, including Pieter Bruegel the Elder.