The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp does not merely schow and research its collection. The museum also makes great efforts to preserve its artworks for future generations.

About ten years ago, a restoration workshop was established. The workshop was initially manned by two restorers and an assistant. Today, the team has grown to several fulltime staff members, supplemented with freelance restorers whom the museum hires on a project basis. The workshop also offers an internship for students, a unique opportunity that has already been taken by numerous prospective restorers, including students from abroad.

Conservation versus restoration

  • In a conservation treatment, the restorers stabilise the condition of the work. This generally happens through minimal interventions that usually do not result in striking visible improvements. Yet conservation is a key instrument to safeguard the collection for the future.
  • Restoration usually encompasses a more extensive treatment than conservation. In addition to making the necessary conservational interventions, the restorers can also remove old layers of varnish and over-painting. This is a time-consuming process that is preceded by in-depth research and analysis. The restoration result is generally quite spectacular, as the colours, depth and readability of the painting are fully restored.

Over the past ten years, over eighty paintings from the museum's collection were restored. Most of the times, this happened in association with international supervisory commissions.

Current restoration projects

  • Christ Surrounded by Musician Angels by Hans Memling
  • Portrait of the Family van Dussen attributed to Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt
  • The "Dam" in Amsterdam by Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde
  • Portrait of a Man by Anthony van Dyck
  • Portrait of a Man attributed to Maarten van Heemskerck
  • The rooftops of Ostend by James Ensor
  • Epitaph of Nicolaas Rockox and His Wife Adriana Perez by Peter Paul Rubens

Important restoration projects from the past


Museum offices

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

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50