On the 23rd of April (Heritage Day) you can visit numerous museums free of charge. Free entrance tickets can be booked via the websites of the museums.
In the Rubens House in Antwerp Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is your personal host. Rubens, one of the greatest artists of all time, lived in this house with his first and second wives and their children. This is where he painted in his majestic studio, together with his colleagues. This is where he strolled in the garden and philosophised with his friends. This is where he cherished his incomparable art collection. This is where he died in 1640.
In his house, Rubens reveals who he really was: painter, art collector, father, friend and architect – he designed the majority of this ‘palazzo’ on the Scheldt himself. An intense experience awaits you in the Rubens House, where you’ll be welcomed as if you really were a guest of Rubens.
Impressive palace in the city
Around 1610, two years after his return from Italy, the young Rubens bought a house with a large plot of land in the most attractive part of Antwerp. Rubens had the house rebuilt to his own design and expanded it into an Italian ‘palazzetto’, modelled on the small palaces of his personal idol Raphael. Rubens’ house made quite an impression on his contemporaries. ‘His home will raise the amazement of strangers, the admiration of travellers,’ said the Antwerp city secretary in 1620.
Joys and sorrows
Rubens lived here with his first wife Isabella Brant, and after her death with his second wife Helena Fourment. His children grew up here and played in the beautiful garden, which is still a wonderful oasis of peace in the bustling city centre.
Burning with ambition
Rubens, himself immensely popular and seen as a celebrity, opened his doors to royal guests, such as the French Queen Maria de Medici and the Archdukes Albrecht and Isabella. Numerous important clients also came to visit. The studio was always buzzing with activity. And at the peak of his fame, Rubens couldn’t handle the work alone. He ran a studio of accomplished artists who worked in his style. His most famous, and undoubtedly most talented, collaborator was Anthony van Dyck.
More than a museum
The Rubens House is more than just a museum. Today, you will, of course, discover a collection of the finest works of Rubens himself, his colleagues and his contemporaries. But unlike an ‘ordinary’ museum, you will be able to come very close to Rubens himself in the Rubens House. It takes very little imagination to be able to picture him in his studio, having dinner with his wife and children or strolling in the garden.
New works of art
The Rubens House collection is regularly supplemented with loaned art objects. These works of art from private collections are temporarily put on display. Often, they are recent discoveries of paintings by Rubens or his contemporaries.