Rubens added a Renaissance-style extension to his existing house. He bought the house and land in 1610 and died here in 1640.

img_9034I’d perked up by this afternoon (well, I’d had lunch) and was ready to wrestle with my dislike of Rubens’ paintings. In the event, there weren’t too many of them to contend with. (But I don’t care for Jacob Jordaens either.) As with the Mayer van den Bergh, I found the house as interesting as its contents – even more so here, as both parts of the house dated from Rubens’ time, whereas the MvdB was built in the early 20th century. It was interesting to see where the kitchen was, to see the hygienic tiling, to notice the absence of corridors, and to see where the light sources were.

One painting I did like was A Lady at the Fish Market in Antwerp by Adriaen van Utrecht and Martin Pepijn (oil on canvas). Yes, it’s as much about the “freshness” of the bourgeoise young woman as of the fish – but what should I make of her red muff, and how should I compare it to the fishwoman’s red dress and lack of male protection? Sisters under the skin? It’s rather easier to be ostentatiously modest when you don’t have to roll your sleeves up and work for a living.


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2 Responses to Rubenshuis

  1. simonjkyte says:

    I don’t really rate Rubens but the house is very interesting and ties in well after a visit to Plantin-Moretus Museum


    • Yes, that is a very interesting museum in a beautiful building. You come away pondering on the impact of “mass-produced” standardised texts on a sixteenth century that was already in turmoil. When I visited it a few years ago I tagged onto the end of a school group and saw how hot type was made.

      Liked by 1 person

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