CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Reunion: from Quinten Metsijs to Peter Paul Rubens: masterpieces from the Royal Museum reunited in the Cathedral

Exhibition: 5 June 2009 - 21 October 2019

NB the exhibition is scheduled to close on 21 October 2019.

Until the re-opening of the KMSKA, the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp will be hosting the exhibition “REUNION. From Quinten Metsijs to Peter Paul Rubens. Masterpieces from the Royal Museum reunited in the Cathedral.” The exhibition has been placed under the High Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Paola.

The Bishopric of Antwerp was founded in 1559. In honour of this event, the Church of Our Lady was re-baptized the Cathedral of Our Lady 450 years ago. An anniversary that will be celebrated with a prestigious exhibition!

During its 450-year existence, the Cathedral has become a veritable treasury of religious art, which was painted and sculpted by renowned masters. Until the French Revolution, they were commissioned with decorating the pillars, chapels and walls of the Cathedral. In the wake of this upheaval, several altarpieces were transferred to museums, among which the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

The close collaboration with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp has now made it possible to return eight of the most beautiful altarpieces in museum’s collection to the Cathedral. Next to these works, the Cathedral will also be showcasing eight works that are featured in its permanent collection. These are mostly imposing works, mainly triptychs, measuring up to 5 metres wide and 3 metres high. These works will be integrated in the cathedral’s current interior. This unique ‘in situ’ reunion will give visitors a spectacular overview of masterpieces created by the Antwerp school during the Golden Age.

Dr Ria Fabri and Dr Nico Van Hout, who are the curators of his exhibition, will provide an insight into the guilds’ and brotherhoods’ patronage of the cathedral by means of the altarpieces on display. Visitors will thus be able to re-discover the interwoven nature of society, religion, art and culture during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The exhibition also sheds light on the iconographical and social-economic developments over the centuries.
The exhibition’s beautifully illustrated catalogue will gather several art-historical and historical contributions on workshop practices, patrons, consumer patterns and the guilds.

At the same time, the Rockox House will be scheduling the exhibition “Gifts of God. Private patronage of the Antwerp churches during the sixteenth and seventeenth century”. Both exhibitions complement one another beautifully and bear testimony to the splendid talent available in Antwerp at the time and of its economic important for the city’s development.

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