Skip to main content

The Rubens house in Antwerp

The Rubens House is the former home of the world-famous painter Peter Paul Rubens. In 1610, after his marriage to Isabella Brant, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) remodeled a house in the "Vaartstraat" and the "Herentalse Vaart", what is now called the "Wapper" in Antwerp, Rubens had made the plans for his palace himself, inspired by the Italian Renaissance palaces.

It became a home and studio with a monumental "portico" in the courtyard. The garden behind the Rubens House was built in Flemish-Italian Renaissance style, it formed an architectural whole with the buildings and the garden pavilion in the Baroque style. Flowers, vegetables, and fruits were planted in beds surrounded by a low hedge.

Picture by Pixabay

Next to the house, Peter Paul Rubens founded a large workshop in which students had to paint large panels and canvases, about 25.000 were made. It was a real paintings factory, but the master's name was a guarantee for the quality of the works. This allowed Rubens to ask high prices at the many foreign princes and nobles he had as customers.

In his private studio upstairs of the workshop, Rubens made drawings, portraits, and smaller paintings, and he conducted extensive correspondence with the customers in Flanders, The Netherlands, and other nations. There are about 5000 letters preserved in both Dutch, French, Latin, and above all, Italian.

The house is now a museum and can be visited daily from 10.00 till 17.00. You can find the Rubenshouse at this address: Wapper 9-11, Antwerp. More about the museum here

Popular posts from this blog

Belgian kids got to drink beer during their school lunch

There are almost 800 different kinds of beer in Belgium. One kind was very popular till the70's, it was even given to kids at school during their lunch break. Beer to kids? You must be kidding! Well, let's go a bit further into this. The beers we are talking about were so-called table beers, a kind of beer that was specially made for people who can't drink alcohol. So it's was a kind of alcohol-free beer, a kind, because there was some alcohol in it. between 1 and 4 percent alcohol. The most popular table beer was Piedboeuf, it had 1.1 percent alcohol in it and there was a lot of sugar added to make it as sweet as Coca-Cola. A good marketing strategy made that it was well distributed in almost all schools in Belgium. The reason was that it would be very healthy for them, because of the natural ingredients and of course the sugar. It would make them grow fast and strong. It would even be good for pregnant women and for women that were breastfeeding their baby'

How the Belgians founded New York

In order to avoid any confusion in this story, it is important to know that in the sixteenth century, the Netherlands covered a part of northern France and Lorraine, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the present Netherlands. Its inhabitants were called the Belgians, and the maps represented the country in the shape of a lion: the "Leo Belgicus". Besides, numerous maps from the sixteenth century showed this territory under the name of Belgium. The latter failed into disuse for the benefit of the Netherlands and only reappeared in 1789 on the occasion of the first Belgian revolution. In 1831 Belgium became an independent country. Today Belgium is a lot smaller and is divided into two big regions mostly based on the language they speak in that particular region. In the north, there is Flanders where they speak Flemish (Dutch) and in the south, there is the Walloon part where they speak French. Almost in the center and between the two parts is the region of the capital Brussels.

A secret medieval street in Antwerp

The Vlaeykensgang is a unique small street in the center of Antwerp. Hidden between two busy Antwerp streets and close to the Cathedral. This medieval times street can easily be walked past unnoticed. Behind its meter-wide entrance, there is an oasis. A step into the passage with its quiet courtyards transports visitors back in time, back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Picture by Harry Fabel Previously, the street was the domain of shoemakers, who had to sound the alarm bell of the Cathedral, also some of the poorest people of the city lived in that very small street. Now you will find antique shops, art galleries, and an exclusive restaurant, Sir Anthony Van Dyck. There is a subdued atmosphere and the street is a popular place to listen to the cathedral's summer carillon concerts. At its heart, you find the Axel Vervoordt Gallery. Picture by Harry Fabel The "Vlaeykensgang" exists as a key piece of Antwerp’s architectural and sociological history, offering a rar