This museum was once the home of 17th century mayor Nicolaas Rockox, an art collector and also a friend of Rubens. The 17th century Rockox House is a temple dedicated to the arts and exudes the atmosphere of a period town house.
For fifty years Nicolaas Rockox (1560-1640) played an important role in public life in Antwerp. He held a prominent political position but was also widely appreciated as a humanist, archaeological expert, patron of the arts and coins and art collector.
He had a marked preference for the classic art of the Antiquity
and was fascinated by the history of the Roman Empire. He was known throughout Europe for his magnifi cent collection of antique objects and old coins. He frequented artists and was friends with Peter Paul Rubens, Sir Anthony van Dyck and Frans Snijders. The latter also was his neighbour in keizerstraat. But he also had an excellent relation with the printers, Jan and Balthasar Moretus.
This house, which he acquired in 1603, was a real meeting place. Rockox paid a lot of attention to the design of his house and garden. His garden has been beautifully preserved and is an excellent example of an early seventeenth-century city garden
The refurbishment of the Rockox House is based on the list of Rockox’s estate inventory. Rockox owned no less than 82 paintings. A huge collection if you consider that an average patrician would bequeath about 15 to his heirs.
The Rockox House
contains paintings by Rubens (Christ on the Cross
and The Virgin in adoration before the Christ Child
) and some of his pupils/assistants Anthony van Dyck and Frans Snyders.
Until June 2017 visitors to the Rockox House in Antwerp will be able to see how an Antwerp art collection must have have appeared in the Golden Century. More particularly, the residence of burgomaster and patron Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640) is being transformed into a luxurious art cabinet
with top items from Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts (closed for renovation) and the most important works from the Rockox House itself. On display will be a range of fine paintings by such masters as Van der Weyden, Memling, Van Eyck, Rubens and Van Dyck.Attention:
closed for renovation works. Reopening 24th of February 2018.