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After the death of Rubens, the contents of the house quickly disappeared.
This makes it impossible to purchase items about which it can be said with certainty that they were a part of Rubens’s personal effects. The furniture and utensils that are on display are, however, authentic objects from Rubens’s time. He would undoubtedly have recognised most of them.
Archive research has shown that a number of items on show in the museum, such as busts, small sculptures, a tazza and a silver jug, formed part of Rubens’ art collection. In his time this was the biggest in the Low Countries.
Rubens was an enthusiastic collector of antique sculpture. He was, however, less interested in the work of his contemporaries.
When Rubens returned to Antwerp from Italy in 1608, he brought along an antique marble bust of the Roman philosopher Seneca (c. 2 BC-AD 65), or so he thought.
The smaller items in a collection of art or curiosities, such as old coins, fossils, gemstones or mounted insects, were kept in specially designed cabinets.
Linen was a major part of a woman's dowry and was considered a status symbol, a visible sign of the family’s prosperity.
This shallow drinking dish mounted on a foot, known as a tazza, is decorated with an erotic scene from the myth of Hercules and Omphale.