Snijders & Rockoxhuis
Keizerstraat 12, Antwerp
14/03/2020 – 31/12/2020
Snijders & Rockoxhouse
I’m always looking forward to exhibitions organized by the Snijders & Rockox House. This year, the museum is collaborating with The Phoebus Foundation for an exhibition on portraits. The scenography was devised by none other than Walter Van Beirendonck.
Only the exhibition brochure is worthwile. You get it in the Snijders & Rockox House and it contains black and white photos of the works and information of each work. Also interesting to browse again later.
That is what BLIND DATE is like: an intimate encounter with men and women from a bygone era. These people will take you back to when the Southern Netherlands were the cultural, intellectual and financial centre of the world.
Through their portraits, these men and women are alltipping their hands. Their likenesses reveal their ambitions, emotions, kept-up appearances and sincere feelings. Some portrayals are highly personal and hyper-individual. Others look slightly dusty and expose the sitters as just typical of their time. But for the most part, these people’s dreams and aspirations come across as surprisingly timeless and soberingly familiar.
(Excerpt from the exhibition brochure of the exhibition ‘Blind Date’) I couldn’t have said it better …
The nice thing about this exhibition is that it is not tied to one place, but that it is a succession of museums and buildings. The best is to start in the Museum Snijders & Rockoxhuis, then you can cross the street to the intimate Keizerskapel (Emperor’s Chapel).
A third location is the Sint-Carolus Borromeuschurch, one of my favorite places in Antwerp. Only children’s portraits hang on the first floor, the gallery. Centuries ago, only one baby in four made his or her first birthday! Portraits of children are made to commemorate them (if they died early) or as a votive portrait (a thank you to God for letting them live). A church is therefore the idealspot to exhibit them. No expenses has been spared for the arrangement of two rows of child portraits with the corresponding rattle almost every time. It is amazing that almost every portrait shows a rattle that looks exactly like the one being depicted. (Note: the church is closed on Sunday.)
One of the other locations is the Butchers Hall. (Attention: only open from Thursday to Sunday and reservation is needed) Here are three paintings by Frans Snijders on the first floor:
To those who know how to look, each and every image paints a portrait of the owner, but also of the artist, of an era and of society…
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