In the Rubens House, you can now admire seven new masterpieces, including paintings by Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. The works, which are on loan, have never before been shown to the public. As well as these new works, we have another six good reasons why you should visit the Rubens House.
The Rubens House is more than a museum. Here you step right into the life of the greatest baroque artist north of the Alps. In this palatial setting, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) spent 25 years of his life with his family and produced most of his oeuvre. As well as an experienced painter, he was also an architect, diplomat, keen collector, scientist, husband and father.
In comparison with his famous colleague Rembrandt, Rubens produced remarkably few self-portraits. Rubens painted four, Rembrandt around forty. The Self-Portrait in the Rubens House is the most informal. Maybe this work served as a model that his assistants could copy. It is dated around 1630, the year in which Rubens married Helena Fourment. The painter was fifty-three at the time.
The portrait of Clara Serena was the showpiece of the exhibition Rubens in Private, and the Rubens House now has this work of Rubens on long-term loan. The portrait caused quite a stir in 2015 when it was found to have been painted by Rubens and not by one of his followers, as had long been thought. Clara Serena was the eldest daughter of Rubens and Isabella Brant. She had a wonderful childhood, but died in 1623 when she was just twelve years old.
Rubens began this painting after his stay in Italy, where he was impressed by the work of the great Renaissance painters. The Bible tells the story of how the Virgin Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, who foretold that she would be the mother of Christ. Mary is depicted in her living room. The homely atmosphere is enhanced by the wicker basket containing Mary’s sewing and the sleeping cat at the bottom right.
Rubens’ studio is one of the highlights of the Rubens House. The dimensions of the space are impressive. On the work floor, he demonstrated his talent both as a painter and as an organiser. Students, assistants and colleagues helped him with the production of his work. Little is known of those who worked with Rubens. We only have a few names, including that of Justus van Egmont (1602-1674). He worked so well in the style of Rubens that his later work was long regarded as genuine Rubens.
Recently, a new self-portrait by Anthony van Dyck (1599-1640) was put on display in the Rubens House, where you can see it for the first time. This masterpiece came up for sale recently, and is almost identical to the famous Self-Portrait by Van Dyck in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Van Dyck was Rubens’ most talented pupil. You can also discover another six new loans in the Rubens House that have never been exhibited before.
The Rubens House is one of the most famous artists’ homes in the world. Rubens designed his own little mansion in around 1610. It is only a short distance from the Meir, a sought-after part of the city then as now. You enter the Rubens House through the main gate, which leads into the elegant courtyard. The portico connects house and studio and forms an impressive way into the garden – the ideal relaxing spot to conclude your visit.
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As the church with the most Rubens influence in Antwerp, the painter’s contribution to the decorations on the facade and top of the steeple was considerable. The Jesuit order commissioned the construction of this typically Baroque church, built between 1615 and 1621
Step into the shoes of the leading Baroque artist of his era. Rubens and his family lived in this palatial setting for well over 25 years and it is here that the artist created the lion’s share of his work. Here he entertained Europe’s nobility and Royalty and stored his impressive art collection in a beautiful art room. The garden, the creators’ workshop and the fabulous collection draws 150 000 visitors from all over the world, year after year.
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