Thursday, 5 March 2015

A day in Antwerp

Rockox House
Yesterday, Karin and I went to Antwerp to visit the Rockox house and museum. Since the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is on repair, part of their collection is shown in this house. So who was Rockox? He lived in Antwerp from 1560-1640, born into a wealthy, bourgeois family, and studied in Leuven, Paris and Douai (a town in north eastern France (I had to look it up!). Married to Adriana Perez, who also came from an old and wealthy merchant family (of Spanish origin). During the first half of the 17th century he was an important figure in the political, artistic as well as in the social life of Antwerp. At one time he was a mayor. He gained an exceptional reputation as a patron, antiquarian, humanist and numismatist (the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects; had to look this up as well; thank you Wikipedia). Interested in the arts, he commissioned, and hereby supported the local artists, including Rubens. He also was a benefactor of the poor. When he died he requested his house to be sold and to benefit the poor.

Renaissance room
It is a beautiful house, and now the wall are filled with marvellous paintings from the great Belgian, Dutch and other masters of the time. The rooms are divided in Renaissance and Baroque paintings. The name of this project is The Golden Cabinet  which refers to the famous work with the same name by Cornelis de Bie (1627-1715), from southern Netherlands.

Barock room. Rubens in the middle
 and Karin to the left
Antwerp is a really beautiful city to stroll around in. Lovely small streets, fantastic old houses. Each street is a new discovery. Karin discovered (she obviously looks higher up than me!) that many houses have statues in the corners.

This was my third visit to the city in a short while. Now I have seen most of the museums that I am interested in. However, there are always more to see. Walking around the city is a joy in itself.

Philippe de Croy
by Rogier van der Weyden
In the book Master of Bruges by Terence Morgan (my review here) about the painter Hans Memling, he was an apprentice to Rogier van der Weyden. I had not heard about him before, and now he pops up everywhere! Also here in the museum with a portrait of Philippe de Croy.

Old house in the shadow of the church

The shopping street. The grand old house
is today Inno Department Store

Reading man in the entrance
to a book store!

A beautiful door from an old house


  1. the "reader" statue is an almost duplicate of lytton strachey!

    1. Could be. I have to ask in the shop next time I pass by! I quite like it.