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Rubens Study Days

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As part of its ongoing Rubens project, KMSKA organised a seminar on 14 and 15 October 2010. The conference provided an opportunity for international Rubens experts and restorers to discuss the interim research findings of the project.

In 2011, the museum closed its doors for several years with a view to an extensive renovation programme. During this period, the large altarpieces by Rubens are to remain in safe storage, so that they will be inaccessible. It was therefore decided by the Rubens project research team that these paintings should be given research priority prior to the temporary closure. Over the past year, the primary focus has been on the Coup de Lance (inv. 297) and on the Last Communion of St Francis (inv. 305), both of which were created for the former Church of the Friars Minor in Antwerp.

The State of Research

During the morning session, project collaborators provided updates on the state of research. Valérie Herremans elucidated the purpose, context and iconography of the paintings. Nico Van Hout presented an overview of findings regarding the creative process underlying the compositions and the painterly technique of Rubens. Arnout Balis discussed the role of Anthony Van Dyck in Rubens's studio. Lizet Klaassen spoke about the condition and the restoration history of the works. The presentations were followed by intense and informative debate. In the afternoon, the participants were provided with a close-up view of The Coup de Lance and the Last Communion of St Francis from specially constructed platforms. This allowed them to assess and discuss certain research findings further.
The research team of the KMSKA's Rubens project and the seminar participants expressed their intention to organise such seminars on a regular basis for the purpose of testing and supplementing the findings of the museum’s ongoing Rubens research.

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