The collection of the Maagdenhuis mainly consists of paintings, a few sculptures, but also important pieces of bourgeois furniture and unique stained glass. Everything is displayed in a historic building from the sixteenth century: the former girls’ orphanage. The building, which has a beautiful façade and a handsome courtyard, was in use from 1552 until 1882 and is now classified as a national monument.
The origin of the objects on display is very diverse: most of these come from chapels and almshouses that were demolished in the nineteenth century. Highlights include an anonymous painted Biblia Pauperum from around 1500 with scenes from The Last Judgement, the seven works of mercy and the seven deadly sins, as well as The Requim of God an early, monumental canvas by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678).
The Maagdenhuis also houses 63 majolica porridge bowls – the biggest collection and only collection of sixteenth century majolica in Belgium – that are included in the list of Flemish Masterpieces and can be seen as precursors to the famous delftware.
Daniel Christiaens, Curator (November 2021)
Related CODART publications
Daniel Christiaens, “The Maagdenhuismuseum in Antwerp”, CODARTfeatures, November 2020.