Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is one of the largest museums in Belgium dedicated to the fine arts. Most of the exhibits were created by artists who lived here, but there are also copies by other European masters. The museum has an extensive collection of paintings from the 15th to 18th centuries, and there is a hall dedicated to the work of modern painters.
History of the collection
Before the opening of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, a guild of painters or the Guild of St. Luke appeared in 1382. Part of the guild occupied various houses and buildings in the city for its activities, and only in 1664 part of the premises was allocated for their needs; the Academy of Fine Arts was also located there.
Until 1773, members of the guild donated their works to the Academy, thus forming an extensive collection. At the end of the 18th century the guild was dissolved. The paintings and other objects remained in the premises of the former exchange until the beginning of the French occupation, when most of them were taken to France. Another part of the collection was collected from closed monasteries, and by 1797 both parts were sent to one of the monasteries in Antwerp. A little later, one of the city’s burgomasters donated more than 100 paintings to the Academy, painted in the 15th and 16th centuries. The construction of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp began in 1880, led by the mayor Leopold de Wall. And 10 years later its grand opening took place.
Architects Van Dyck and Jean-Jacques Winders designed a large-scale structure in the spirit of neoclassicism, popular at that time. The spacious halls of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, full of air and light, were filled with a variety of paintings. Wide staircases, tall columns and a sculpture depicting harnessed horses.
The interior space of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is impressive in scale. There is a huge exhibition hall on the ground floor, and the galleries on the second floor are decorated with arches and marble columns. The ceiling is decorated with light glazing, which only adds air, light and volume. There are a huge number of paintings on display; a visit to the institution can take almost the whole day. The last major renovation of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp was completed in 2020.