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"The Golden Cabinet": Exhibition recalls the opulence of the lost Antwerp art cabinets
Princess Mathilde of Belgium (L), Thomas Leysen, President of the board of directors of KBC Group (R) and Antwerp province governor Cathy Berx visit on June 4, 2013 the 'Het Gulden Cabinet' (The Golden Cabinet) art exhibition at the Rockoxhuis museum in Antwerp. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / JONAS ROOSENS.


ANTWERP.- Visitors to Antwerp’s Rockox House get an impression of the opulence of the 17th century town houses of the city.

Top pieces from Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA), currently closed for restoration, and the most important works from the Rockox House Museum transform this former burgomaster’s patrician residence into a luxurious art cabinet.

Evocation
During the 16th and 17th centuries, a number of the world’s most renowned art collections were in Antwerp, but sadly few remain intact today, having since been dispersed.

The exhibition The Golden Cabinet. Royal Museum at the Rockox House takes the visitor into the world of wealthy 17th century citizens. What the home of the former burgomaster and patrician looked like, we know from his inventory and the painting The art cabinet of Nicolaas Rockox by Frans Francken II (now in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich). More than 100 top works from Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts (KMSKA), and the most important works from the Rockox House Museum collection transform Rockox’s Keizerstraat residence into an example of what a rich Antwerp art collection of the Golden Century must have resembled: The Golden Cabinet. Paintings on display include those by Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.

The Golden Cabinet occupies five rooms in the patrician’s residence, the first two of which are devoted to late mediaeval painting, with a great deal of attention and space being given to the works of art as such. To decorate the other rooms or saletten, the curators Hildegard Van de Velde (Rockox House Museum) and Nico Van Hout (KMSKA) have been inspired by baroque art rooms, with their traditional gold leather wall covering, bedecked floor to ceiling with paintings as was then the fashion. Mantelpieces reveal the original functions of the rooms one by one: the kitchen, the reception room, and the study. Precious furniture, marble busts, bound books with engravings, shells and rare items illustrate the fact that Antwerp was the production and trading centre for luxury items of the time.

Closed yet close by
After having exhibited its top pieces for the last 18 months at the brand new MAS (Museum Aan de Stroom), the Royal Museum - currently closed for renovation - is now presenting another part of the collection via a new concept at Antwerp’s Rockox House Museum. In this way, its collection remains close by and accessible to the public. The modern pieces from the KMSKA collection can be seen at the Koningin Fabiolazaal whilst the old altar pieces are back on display in their place of origin, the Cathedral of Our Lady.





Today's News

June 5, 2013

"The Golden Cabinet": Exhibition recalls the opulence of the lost Antwerp art cabinets

United States journal says research proves ancient French winemaking had roots in Italy

First dedicated exhibition of Eduardo Chillida's sculptures opens at Ordovas in London

Europeana releases first free iPad app with works from Europe’s top institutions

First comprehensive retrospective of Linda McCartney's work opens at Kunst Haus Wien

Exhibition of new paintings by Per Kirkeby opens at Michael Werner Gallery in London

William Morris Gallery wins UK's largest arts prize - £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year

The Red Ronnie collection of rock & roll memorabilia at Christie's South Kensington in June

Exhibition highlights Gary Hume’s innovative use of colour, line and surface

City of Marseille opens a twenty-first-century museum of civilisations next to the Mediterranean

Christie's London announces full details of The Exceptional Sale to be held on 4 July

Survey exhibition of the celebrated British painter Patrick Caulfield opens at Tate Britain

Minneapolis Institute of Arts receives transformative gift of Japanese art from Willard "Bill" Clark

Bonhams sells 100% of French champagnery's gold coin treasure

Annoushka Boutique displays the complete spectrum of Nathalie Hambro's broad-based artistic practice

Thomas Dane Gallery displays more than sixty works on paper by Michael Landy

Disappearance: Fergus Feehily opens exhibition at Mother's Tankstation in Dublin

Royal portraitist Nicky Philipps opens exhibition at Fine Art Commissions' new Duke Street gallery

Rare Russian literature on offer at Bonhams New York

Lethal Beauty: Samurai Weapons and Armor opens at the Honolulu Museum of Art

American and European masterworks of the last 100 years to be offered at Sotheby's

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