Exhibition - At the moment
Family reunion at the Snyders&Rockox House
Adriaen and Catherine Rockox visit their grandson Nicolaas with their thirteen children.
St James’s Church in Antwerp is lending the celebrated Van Hemessen Triptych to the Snyders&Rockox House for several years
The City of Antwerp, with the support of the Flanders Heritage Agency, is about to start work on restoring St James’s Church (Sint-Jacobskerk). The project will take about ten years to complete in all, with two principal phases. During the first of these, the church will close the nave and aisles in mid-January 2019, while the transept, choir and ambulatory chapels will remain open. As a result, several important altars and artworks will no longer be accessible to the public, including The Last Judgement or Rockox Triptych by Jan van Hemessen (Hemiksem, c. 1500–1556/57). For the next five years or so, the imposing work will be hosted at the Snyders&Rockox House Museum.
Adriaen Rockox (1460–1540), chamberlain to Emperor Charles, and Catherine van Overhoff (1486–1549), related to the Lords of Breda and the aristocratic Liere family, enjoyed considerable prestige in Antwerp. They lived in Keizerstraat, where they owned various buildings. In 1515, Adriaen and Catherine purchased the Chapel of St Dymphna in St James’s Church as their future burial place. Twenty years later they commissioned a triptych from Jan van Hemessen, the central panel of which shows the Last Judgement. The couple appear in the side panels, accompanied by their thirteen children. Catherine and their ten daughters are shown on the right, with Adriaen on the left with their three sons, including Adriaen Jr., the father of Nicolaas Rockox, our former burgomaster.
The Snijders&Rockox House.
Nicolaas Rockox and Frans Snijders were key figures in Antwerp during the Baroque era. Each made his mark on the city’s cultural and social life – Nicolaas as burgomaster and Frans as a brilliant painter of animals and still lifes. They were also next-door neighbours for 20 years in Keizerstraat.
Their original homes, now carefully restored, both belong to KBC, which opened the Rockox House as a museum some years ago and is now doing the same with the Snijders House. The everyday world of 17th-century citizens will be evoked through items from the museum’s own collection, supplemented by loans from museums and private collections in Belgium and abroad.
We will be able to view Nicolaas and Frans’s domestic environment through their own eyes, along with the making and promotion of art, collecting and display, markets and richly set tables, nature and gardens, and the humanist and the average citizen in the turbulent era in which they lived.