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KMSKA Antwerp Hangs First Rubens


As Antwerp looks forward to the much-anticipated opening of its Fine Arts Museum (KMSKA) in September, the museum was excited to start its programme of populating its walls with the first of its art collection, last week.

Starting with the “Baptism of Christ” by Rubens, the re-hanging of this masterpiece was a milestone for the KMSKA Antwerp. Owing to its size, the painting had remained untouched in the museum for ten years. The Museum has been closed for renovation for nearly 11 years now and is due to re-open on 24 September 2022.

During the closure, some of the KMSKA’s art collection was divided with some items stored in-house as well as others kept in an external storage facility for loaning out. In that time, some of its 4,000 works of art, were loaned around the world. Meanwhile, for those items stored in-house, a special workshop was set up by the Museum during its closure, to use the opportunity to restore just over 130 paintings and sculptures.

Photo from Visit Antwerp by Sanne De Block

“In recent years, our Flemish Masters have been travelling around the world. Now. they are finally returning home. With ‘The Baptism of Christ’, the first of many masterpieces is once again gaining a place in Flanders’ finest museum. I am eagerly looking forward to 24 September, to mark a moment when we can welcome back these works to Antwerp and Flanders, and proudly display the masterpieces, painted by our Flemish Masters,” said Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister of Tourism.

Follow Mark Bibby Jackson as he eats his way through Antwerp.

The reinstallation of the remaining artwork will be completed in phases, subject to a strict schedule. Of its total collection of some 8,400 works, a selection of 650 works of art will be specially chosen to be on display. Details of those works of art will be revealed in the run-up to the official opening in September. Any pieces of art that are not exhibited will be made accessible by the KMSKA via the digital collection catalogue on its website. The museum proudly boasts an outstanding collection of art spanning seven centuries and when open, are confident that the unique staging of the KMSKA’s new architectural setting, will further enhance the visitor experience.

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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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