Rubenshuis, Antwerp

Rubenshuis is, as you can imagine, the house and studio that Pieter Paul Rubens and his family inhabited. Rubens bought the property in 1610, upon returning from an eight-year stint in Italy, and spent the next eleven years turning it into a stunning Italian palazzo.

Then came the fun part: decorating! The enormous house was soon stocked with Roman Antiquity and Italian Renaissance pieces, many of which we see today.

Over his lifetime, Rubens cobbled together the largest art collection in the Low Countries. The main emphasis was on antique sculptures and paintings from Italy and the southern Netherlands. There were also oil sketches, curio cabinets and applied arts. The best pieces are works by Rubens’s assistant, van Dyk, Jordaens, Snijders and Brouwer. And, of course, the many, many Rubens.

Artwork aside, the highlight of the house is the baroque portico, rear façade and formal garden. Sigh. What a beauty.

Rubinshuis, Antwerp, Belgium

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