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The Fame of the Antwerp School

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Nicaise De Keyser
1861 - 1872
oil on canvas
Inventory number 8001-8039

The staircase of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp is perhaps best described as an ode to the fine arts. Visitors to the museum are introduced to Antwerp's rich artistic history. It was the then curator of the museum Nicaise De Keyser who produced this ensemble of thirty-nine paintings. It took him over a decade to capture the history, the singularity and the international allure of the Antwerp School. Three large works constitute an imaginary group portrait of its most important representatives. The group consists of 137 renowned architects, painters, sculptors and engravers who worked in Antwerp between the late fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Twelve smaller paintings represent pivotal moments in Antwerp's artistic history. The ensemble is crowned by twenty-four allegorical ceiling paintings referring to the inspiration sources of the Antwerp artists, as well as their patrons and the history of the academy with which the Antwerp School is so closely associated.

All for art

In 1875, the city authorities of Antwerp felt that the existing museum, which was housed in the former monastery of the Friars Minor, was no longer adequate. It was therefore decided that a new museum building should be constructed in the city's South district. The entrance hall of the new accommodation was designed with De Keyser's cycle of paintings in mind.

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Museum offices

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

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50