Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen: History, Collection Highlights.


Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp


Renovation Program
Permanent Collection Highlights
Rubens Research
Contact Details

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The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen, KMSKA) houses nearly 7,600 artworks including paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by European Masters. Founded in 1810, it owns numerous masterpieces of early Flemish painting from the 15th and 16th century Netherlandish Renaissance, as well as works by modern Flemish Primitives and Expressionists. Considered to be one of the best museums in Europe, it has the largest collection of works by Dutch artist Wik Wouters (1882-1916) and the most important collection in the world of paintings by James Ensor (1860-1949). Other highlights of the collection include works by Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Jean Fouquet (1420-71) and Titian (1488-1576) as well as sculptors Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) and Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967).

Melun Diptych by Jean Fouquet
The Melun Diptych (1450-55)
(Left Hand Panel)
By Jean Fouquet.

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Before visiting the Antwerp
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, see:
Art Evaluation: How to Appreciate Art.

Renovation Program

However, visitors the city will be disappointed to learn that the museum is closed until the end of 2017 due to major renovations. In the meantime the museum's website has an online virtual tour of some of its rooms and they have uploaded a large selection of their important works ready for viewing. Additionally many of the paintings are being hosted in other exhibitions and project venues in and around Antwerp. The best selection from their modern art collection will be put on display at Koningin Fabiolazaal (Jezusstraat 28), including works by Ensor, Modigliani and Wouters, as well as paintings by figurative artist Fernando Botero (b.1932), painter and sculptor Constant Permeke (1886-1952), landscapist Emile Claus (1849-1924) and painter and etcher Henri De Braekeleer (1840-88). Also the Municipal Museum in Lier will temporarily exhibit the works of Flemish Renaissance painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525/30-69) until 2017.

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Painting (oils/watercolours)
Printmaking (etching/lithography)

For news of major art shows,
see: Art News Headlines.


Although the museum was founded in 1810, the collection can date its roots back to the establishment of the Antwerp guild of painters in 1382. The Guild of St Luke, as it was known, met regularly at a local banqueting hall and adorned their walls with their own paintings. Rubens for example donated his Family with Parrot (1614) which can be seen today in the museum's Rubens Room. In 1773 the works from the Guild were transferred to the Antwerp Academy of Art, by which time they also included examples of Baroque painting by artists like Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), Abraham Grapheus and portraitist Cornelius de Vos (1584-1651). During the 1800s, the collection continued to grow by bequests from wealthy benefactors, to include works by Flemish painters like Hans Memling (1430-94), Roger van der Weyden (1399-1464) and Jan van Eyck (1395-1441). During the 19th century the Academy required members to donate an artwork, which is why the 19th century collection grew considerably quickly: Ingres (1780-1867) and Jacques Louis David (1748-1825) were among them. In 1890 the collection was rehoused in its present location. Donations to the museum continued. In total, roughly 600 artworks in the collection originated as gifts.



Permanent Collection Highlights

Old Masters

- The Adoration of the Magi (1624) by Peter Paul Rubens.
- Melun Diptych: Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels (1452) Jean Fouquet.
- Portrait of the Preacher Eleazar Swalmius (1637) by Rembrandt.
- The Lamentation of Christ (1635) by Anthony van Dyck.

Modern Art

- Ironing (1912) by Rik Wouters, Dutch Impressionist.
- The Intrigue (1890) by James Ensor.
- The Oyster-Eater (1882) by James Ensor.
- Sitting Nude (c.1916) by Modigliani.
- The Stroll (1964) by Roger Raveel.

Rubens Research

In 2007 the museum began a project to systematically research all the works it owns by Rubens, which includes 28 paintings, 665 prints (burin engravings, etchings and woodcuts) and one drawing. Researchers are combining a traditional art historical approach as well as undertaking a detailed technical analysis of the pieces in question. They are reviewing the exact origin of the works, and any previous restorations carried out. Photographic X-rays are providing invaluable insights into how Rubens painted and the techniques he and his assistants employed, as well as providing more accurate dating. Each year the results are presented to the public in a series entitled Rubens Revealed. In 2010 the museum published a book with all its findings to date.

Contact Information

Royal Museum of Fine Arts
(Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen)
Plaatsnijdersstraat 2
Leopold De Waelplaats
Antwerp 2000

While the Museum is closed, an information office has been set up to provide visitors with information on news of the renovation as well as details of the exhibitions to visit during the closure.

Temporary Information Office
Leopold de Waelplaats
Antwerp 2000


+32(0)3 238 78 09

Opening Times
Open Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm
Closed Sunday to Tuesday

• For details of more galleries in Belgium, see: Best Art Museums.
• For more details about Belgian painting & sculpture, see: Homepage.

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