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The collection

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1864: Artibus Patriae

'Artibus Patriae' was an association of art enthusiasts whose purpose it was to enhance the collection of the Antwerp museum. Although its main interest lay in old paintings, the association's focus extended to the modern national heritage. Among its donations to the museum were pieces by Henri De Braekeleer, Nicaise De Keyser and Xavier Mellery. In all, 'Artibus Patriae' added some 250 items to the museum of the Academy. As the collection grew, the museum ran out of space. Moreover, in the summer of 1873, a major fire near the Academy almost spread to the museum building. This prompted the authorities to consider moving the now renowned collection to new accommodation.

1873: Salon purchases

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Academy began to purchase paintings, drawings and sculptures at the three-yearly salons organised by the 'Royal Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts'. The purchases were funded by the City and the State, and they were essentially national in flavour. By the 1920s, this approach had run its course, but it nonetheless resulted in some notable acquisitions, including Pierre de Wissant, a piece by the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin. In 1903, a plaster cast of the sculpture had been shown at the Brussels Salon. The museum expressed an interest in a bronze version, which it was eventually able to add to its collection in 1908.

1884-1890: A new temple of art

The lack of space in the old museum building grew increasingly acute, so that the City of Antwerp eventually decided to build a new museum on land previously occupied by Zuiderkasteel, a fortification constructed in 1573 at the command of Spain's Duke of Alva. In 1877, the municipal authorities organised a competition for Belgian architects. Six designs were retained, but they were all found to be too expensive. So two years later, a new competition was organised between the six finalists of the previous edition. In the end, Jan Jacob Winders won and Frans Van Dijk came second. They subsequently combined their designs into a single project. The new museum building was inaugurated in 1890.

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Permanent collection

  • As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe

  • September Sixteenth (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    September Sixteenth

  • Meleager and Atalanta (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Meleager and Atalanta

  • The Intrigue (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    The Intrigue

  • Ironing (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Ironing

  • Madonna Surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Madonna Surrounded by Seraphim and Cherubim

  • The Man in the Chair (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    The Man in the Chair

  • Venus Frigida (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Venus Frigida

  • Pierre de Wissant. Burgher of Calais (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Pierre de Wissant. Burgher of Calais

  • Card Players (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Card Players

  • Vespers (click to enlarge; use the escape key to close the window)

    Vespers

Museum offices

Lange Kievitstraat 111-113 bus 100, B-2018 Antwerpen

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50