Ceiling art made from beetle shells

In Most European palaces and castles, it is common to find the ceilings decorated with ornate gilded woodwork and elaborate frescoes. In Brussels, Belgium, one particular hall in the Royal Palace has a very peculiar ceiling that is decorated with very strange items.

The hall's ceiling, which has remained unfinished since 1909, was redecorated by the contemporary Belgian artist Jan Fabre. Fabre was inspired by Sternocera aequisignata, a type of jewel beetle of the Buprestidae family, which has a shimmering green iridescent shell. Fabre and 30 other diligent artist armed with a truck-full of beetle shells and glue, transformed the empty ceiling into one bejeweled with a sea of swirling and twinkling green. The team also went to work on the center chandelier in the hall, turning it from gilded gold to sparkling green. As one gazes up at the masterpiece from the floor, the whole mass of shells appears to move as the light reflects from different angles.

Jan Fabre calls the the ceiling Heaven of Delight, as a reference to ''The Garden of Earthly Delights'' by early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch ( a personal favorite of mine). The green shells do indeed add a great amount of energy to the once bland and vacant hall.

1.6 million beetle shells were used. The beetles, which are wood-boring and are mostly considered a pest, appears abundantly in India, Thailand, and Vietnam. They are sometimes cooked and eaten, however their beautiful shells are discarded.

Translated Original

Picture of Ceiling art made from beetle shells
beetles 3.jpg
beetles 4.jpg
sort by: active | newest | oldest
1-10 of 34Next »
coeleoptera5 years ago
The photos don't do this project justice. The color is amazing, and the effect is as if tropical nature had invaded Leopold's stodgy, conventional gilt-and-plaster palace. Look for Fabre's edgier projects on colonialism, and if you find yourself in Brussels, by all means visit this astonishing place!
shortone7 years ago
This is fantastic! I love iridescent beetle shells (wings?).
RickyFrais7 years ago
THe right question is: who made this? The answer is: jan Fabre.
Kent7 years ago
I don't understand the revulsion. If this bothers you, you don't want to use chalk, made of the calcium carbonate remains of plankton in ancient oceans. (Do Vegans use it?) Also, these bugs are pests, so they were not raised to be used.
maven7 years ago
Does that comply with EU Building Codes??? :-P Sorry. Been reading a book about the EU and its effects on the French food culture.
I saw it and I can tell you, for the price they paid that guy to do it it is not worth it by a long shot!

I mean I'm all for art expression but goddamned my tax money went to this piece of crap! And to make matters worse it's in the royal palace, those people get enormous amounts of money from us every year and still they can't find the common sense to think of paying for themselfs... What was that saying again? It's easy to spend money that isn't yours?

Excuse me for my harsh language but my temper always stagnates when the topic of royal families and the amounts of money they get for doing absolutly nothing but go to some fancy dinners and shake some hands...
Meralis7 years ago
That is beautiful!! Talk about upcycling. Reminds me of the guys who tiled their entire bathroom in pennies but on a much more stunning scale. Love it!
That is amazing. my only worry is what will they do when the shells start deteriorating? I'm sure nobody wants to look up and say " my how lovely...um that one fell in my eye."
tofu17 years ago
super cool!
Wow. That is stunning. I never would have thought you could do something like that with beetles!
1-10 of 34Next »