Echoes of Renaissance: the Ommegang of Brussels in Quick and Flupke
It is well known that Hergé drew heavily on the environment around him to give his work a striking realism and undeniable authenticity. In his artistic universe, the city of Brussels occupied a special place, like a muse that nourished his imagination. Proud of its cultural and historical richness, beautiful Brussels is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Among the key characters to emerge from this wonderful world are Quick and Flupke, these two Brussels scallywags. Their adventures,mixing humour and pranks, are rooted in the culture and folklore of the Belgian capital.
Their sparkling stories unfold in the winding streets of this lively city. However, beyond the direct influences of Brussels life, it's possible to glimpse the subtle threads that connect the adventures of Quick and Flupke to a grand historical celebration: the Ommegang of Brussels. Like a journey through time, this unique procession echoes the history of the city through the centuries. In particular it commemorates the arrival of Emperor Charles V in 1549, transporting amazed spectators to the heart of that glorious era. Among the costumed extras, musicians and horsemen, it's easy to imagine Hergé drawing his inspiration for one of the Quick and Flupke stories, entitled "A bit of history" in Series 2 of the adventures of these boisterous rascals.
In the corner of a carefully drawn vignette, a lady from the imperial court emerges flanked by her guards, like emissaries from a bygone era. The guards appear proudly armed with halberds, symbols of their power and their role as protectors, recalling the military traditions of the Ommegang.
The clues scattered throughout this drawing suggest a link between the costumes of the characters in the comic strip and those of the sumptuous Renaissance, a period traditionally associated with the festivities of the Ommegang. But that's not all: the grace of his mount and, above all, his haughty amazon stance are reminiscent of the equestrian traditions of the Ommegang (since, in Hergé's time, the Court of Charles V in the procession appeared on horseback, and the ladies in this singular position).
In the following vignette, Quick tells Flupke that the scene is a historical re-enactment, adding a further echo to the possible connection between the adventures of the two Brussels boys and the Ommegang.
As a son of Brussels, Hergé was deeply imbued with the culture and soul of his native city. His benevolent eye was drawn to the jewels of Brussels' history and traditions, transforming his drawings into veritable living frescoes. Subtle references to the Ommegang, delicately woven into his work, testify to his passion for the roots and cultural richness of Brussels. By revealing these hidden treasures in the adventures of Quick and Flupke, Hergé invites the reader on an extraordinary journey, where wondrous meets reality, where history mingles with the imaginary, to create a magical spectacle worthy of the greatest legends.
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