Jacob Harrewijn, The Rubens House at Antwerp, 1684, 1692 © Lowie De Peuter and Michel Wuyts
In Rubens’s lifetime
In 1610, two years after his return from Italy, Rubens and his wife Isabella Brant bought a house with land on the Wapper.
In subsequent years, he designed the extension to the house, adding a semi-circular sculpture gallery, a large studio and a porch; they were completed around 1617. The new section embodied Rubens’s artistic ideals: Greco-Roman classicism and the art of the Italian renaissance.
The building with its rich ornamentation inspired by antiquity did not have its equal in the Antwerp of the time. Rubens’s changes – the semi-circular ‘Pantheon’, the studio, the porch and the garden design – give the house the ambiance of an Italian ‘palazzo’.
After Rubens’s death in 1640, his second wife, Helena Fourment, continued to live in the Wapper for several years.
From the second half of the eighteenth century, the Rubens House was subjected to various renovations and was somewhat forgotten.
As an adjunct to the Van Dyck year in 1999, the architect Stéphane Beel designed a functional pavilion in front of the artist’s house.
Do you have any questions, comments or suggestions?