From the museum’s website, 13 July 2011
The Rubens House is mounting a unique and exquisite exhibition in the autumn of 2011 about Peter Paul Rubens as architect, a relatively unkown facet of this versatile artist, who was an authority on ancient and contemporary Italian architecture. A scoop!
The fact that Rubens was a connoisseur of architecture is, however, clear from his paintings. But he was additionally involved in high-profile Antwerp projects, like the extension of his spacious studio-residence and possibly also the building of the present-day St. Charles Borromeus church, considered by his contemporaries as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’. Rubens found inspiration in painter-architects such as Michelangelo and Giulio Romano and in Italian books devoted to architecture.
In the 1620s he published Palazzi di Genova, in order to provide architects and their clients from the Low Countries with modern examples of good architecture. Furthermore, in 1635 he co-designed the commemorative architecture for the Joyous Entry into Antwerp of Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand. In short, Rubens was intensely involved with the art of building.
The exhibition shows some fifty items on loan from major international museums. Some of the works of art from lesser-known collections have never before been on show to the general public. There will also be valuable books on architecture from Rubens’ own library on display together with work by Michelangelo, Giulio Romano and, of course, by the master himself.