The Snyders&Rockox House, both the historical residences and the art collection they house, is the starting point for a dialogue with the community and heritage of Antwerp in the second half of the 16th century and first half of the 17th century. Incidentally, several of Antwerp’s museums represent a key figure from that period. In the case of the Snyders&Rockox House Museum, they are Mayor Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640) and the painter Frans Snyders (1578–1657). Rockox’s social and political engagement make him a symbol of leadership, image, networking and enterprise. His cultural achievements were also remarkable. Frans Snyders was a craftsman who stood for creativity, quality and cooperation. By drawing on this past, we can build a bridge to the present and the future. We remain innovative and we narrate this gripping history through both tangible and intangible evidence in a contemporary way to a wide audience.
We present and interpret, and we tell the story based on an art collection that continues to be built up and which is regularly supplemented by long-term loans. Temporary projects, such as exhibitions, enable us to perform scholarly research that enhances our understanding of society in the Southern Netherlands during the Renaissance and baroque eras. The emphasis within our collection at the Snyders&Rockox House is on paintings by renowned artists, such as Jan van Hemessen, Hans Bol and Maerten de Vos in the 16th century and Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens in the 17th century. At the same time, sculpture, furniture and other objects in silver, porcelain and earthenware have been integrated into these patricians’ former chambers in order to simulate their everyday world.
Prior to 2017, only the Rockox House Museum had been opened up to the public – seven rooms on the ground floor and the reconstruction of a Renaissance garden. KBC’s connection with Antwerp led the banking and insurance company to add the adjacent Snyders House to the existing museum in the spring of 2018, and also to open part of the upper floor of the Rockox House. In doing so, we were able to introduce another patrician from this vital period in Antwerp’s history, while also creating a separate exhibition space. This has given us even more scope to tell the story of the city in greater and wider detail.
The Snyders&Rockox House is a unique patrician’s residence – the perfect witness to a long-lost era and a setting in which art works and objects are brought to life. The facades of the Snyders&Rockox House Museum conceal a history stretching back to the 16th century. The historical homes and personal stories of these celebrated citizens, as well as their contribution to the city of Antwerp, are rooted in that same period.
The Snyders&Rockox House Museum is the ideal starting point from which to get to know the Renaissance and the baroque eras in Antwerp. Having visited it, you can dive deeper into other related museums in the city: the Rubens House (architecture and the importance of the ‘Rubens’ brand); the Museum Plantin-Moretus (humanism and the dissemination of knowledge); the Vleeshuis Museum (musical culture); the Maagdenhuis Museum (social engagement); and the Museum Mayer van den Bergh (another collector with a powerful vision), to mention just the best known.