From the museum website
The KMSKA is hosting masterpieces from the impressive collection of French classicists, romantics and realists in the Palais de Beaux-Arts in Lille. The juxtaposition of the art of the French early-moderns and the Flemish Rubenesque tradition, which they often loved but occasionally also loathed, is the unique angle adopted to rediscover the French art of the nineteenth century and the Flemish baroque. With drawings and paintings by David, de Valenciennes, Boilly, Géricault, Delacroix, Ingres, Girodet, Isabey, Scheffer, Rousseau, Troyon, Courbet, Fantin-Latour and Carolus-Duran.
From the website of Rubens 2004
During the first half of the 19th century artists were forced to side with or against Rubens, in a debate in which he was seen as the model of the pictorial conception of art, a person who placed colour first and foremost, and viewed with suspicion by the adherents of traditional modelling. For artists with a Romantic bent, like Delacroix, Rubens was the master they sought to equal. The realists, led by Courbet, preferred Jordaens.
In this exhibition Rubens, Jordaens and others host Delacroix, Ingres and Courbet in a challenging confrontation of 17th century models with their 19th century admirers. The French masters are represented at Antwerp with their best works, which have left the walls and storerooms of the impressive Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille for this exhibition. A magnificent encounter.