In the fall of 2023, the Snijders&Rockox House in Antwerp will present sixteenth- and seventeenth-century paintings from private collections.
The seeker, the seer, the finder, the discoverer, and the sharer. It is a wonderful story of passion – a passion narrative! This time, however, the story is not about suffering but the search for beauty, uniqueness and excellence.
The former mayor of Antwerp, Nicolaas Rockox (1560-1640), loved the exquisite culture of his time. When he died in 1640, he left behind a magnificent collection of contemporary paintings and rare Greek and Roman coins, which he passionately collected. Rockox had an eye for quality and his collections were a way of enhancing the influence of his personality. Following in his footsteps, avid collectors are still active in the art market today searching for discoveries and their favorite collectibles. Ten passionate collectors share with the museum 30 works of art from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These will be displayed in the Snijdershuis and categorized into four themes: ‘intimacy’, ‘exterior and interior’, ‘portraits and images’ and ‘rites and legends’, which are further explained below.
Intimacy. The mother and child have been painted with astonishing beauty by Jordaens and others. It is extraordinary to see them in dialogue with the touching scene of father Cimon receiving nourishment from his daughter Pero, in this delightful work by Verspronck.
Exterior and interior. A rare copper engraving from the late sixteenth century shows a view of the city of Antwerp, taken from what is now the Mechelen Road towards St. George’s Gate. It closely matches a painting made 100 years later by Lucas van Helmont. The wonderful coincidence unveils even
more of Antwerp’s secrets.
Portraits and images. A caricature, or noblesse oblige? A natural look, or a pose? There is nothing new under the sun; only the context changes. The ways in which we want to be seen and validated and how an observer views us are still as they have always been. However, the nature of our society is completely different from the world of 400 or 500 years ago.
Rites and legends. True or untrue, fact or fiction, Bible or mythology Sometimes these distinctions simply cannot be made. A story may carry a message or point a finger of warning but also bring healing and virtue.
There is no catalogue for this exhibition, but instead the museum offers a privileged opportunity and the perfect setting to view works of such beauty.