Peter Paul Rubens, the most famous resident of Antwerp, likes looking at himself in the mirror. His self portrait on display at the Rubens House is what we would label as a selfie these days. He doesn't portray himself as an artist, but rather as a nobleman and diplomat.
Rubens is famous for his voluptuous female nudity. Many painters openly express their admiration for the great master of nudity, from Eugène Delacroix and Thomas Gainsborough, to Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Unfortunately, very few drawings and sketches of female models have survived, except for a number of his second wife Helena Fourment.
Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world. Nowadays, approximately 80% of all rough diamonds are traded in Antwerp. But the history of diamond trading goes back many centuries. Ever since the 15th century, Antwerp played a key role in the diamond trade and cutting industry. The diamond trade is more than just business. From a cultural and artistic heritage perspective, Antwerp has a story or two to tell about these little rocks.
Since its completion in 1432, millions of visitors from all over the world have travelled to Ghent to admire The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, also known as the Ghent Altarpiece, painted by the brothers Jan and Hubert Van Eyck. Gone missing, absconded in the course of several wars, threatened by fire, dismantled, copied, smuggled, censored, attacked by inconoclasts, hidden, ransomed, rescued and stolen time and again... no work of art has been menaced and desired as much as the Mystic Lamb.
Saint Bavo’s Cathedral
The Ghent Altarpiece may belong to Ghent, but Jan van Eyck was also a resident of Bruges. He was a court painter in Bruges under the Burgundian dukes and gave the city two incredible masterpieces. That is why Bruges is also shining the spotlight on the great Jan van Eyck.
Jan van Eyck once lived in Ghent, where his magnum opus still adorns the St. Bavo's Cathedral. In 2021, Ghent is honouring him with 'OMG! Van Eyck was here', a captivating city festival with visual art, theatre, design, fashion and much more.
St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent will briefly close its doors from 8 until 25 March 2021. During this time, the restored panels of the Ghent Altarpiece will be reinstalled with extreme precision. The masterpiece will finally be reassembled in the place for which the van Eyck brothers originally created it, marking the end of the altarpiece’s ‘peregrinations’. On the occasion of the official reopening on 25 March 2021, visitors can trace the masterpiece’s journey in ‘The Ghent Altarpiece. The return of its divine colours’.
My colleagues have plenty more to tell you.
|Painter:||Peter Paul Rubens|
Hi there, my name is Venus. I'm the goddess of beauty, love and desire...
Peter Paul Rubens brought me to the north to make this painting. He named it 'Venus Frigida'. It was quite cold when he made this masterpiece. I'm used to the warm Mediterranean climate of my home, the isle of Cyprus in the south. So, that's why you see mi shivering as I'm being exposed ot the wintry landscape. Even my tittle Cupid next to me is trying to keep warm.
A classical adage says: 'Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus grows cold.' Well, that's kind of true. One needs delicious food, a good drink and a cosy bedroom to stay warm in winter, right? So that's why you can see a satyr, one of Bacchus followers, offering me his cornucopia filled with delicacies to reignite the fire of life.
This painting is probably one of the finest nudes by Peter Paul Rubens. At that time it wasn't evident to pose nude. Many artists painted my naked body but Rubens did a really great job. By combining flesh tones with red, orange, yellow and blue heus, he transformed me into a real woman of flesh and blood. Look closely and you'll even see the shivers running down my spine. and perhaps some cellulite. What can i say, we didn't use Photoshop back in those days.