CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Bert Watteeuw

Art and Illusion. Art in Situ in the Rubens House
Bert Watteeuw, Director, Rubenshuis, Antwerp


The Rubens House brings visitors closer to the artist than is possible elsewhere. It was here that Rubens produced his monumental oeuvre, built up his art collection, and led an extraordinarily rich life. Even so, in the strictest sense, it contains scarcely any art in situ. Most of the artworks in the collection were not intended for the place where they can now be seen, although many were made there and/or were preserved there for varying periods of time. Acquiring works to return them to the house they embellished in Rubens’s lifetime is an extremely satisfying thing to do. However, that is not what is generally understood by art in situ. Bert Watteeuw discusses how the tensions between truly authentic, restoration, reconstruction, and evocation create a multi-layered amalgam – a palimpsest, that acquires meaning mainly as an ensemble, with art in situ as the permanent anchoring of the genius loci.

About Bert Watteeuw

Bert Watteeuw was named director of the Rubens House in 2021. Before that he worked as a researcher for the Rubenianum and the Rubens House. In 2018 he was appointed as project coordinator for the architectural master plan for the Rubens House site.