7 reasons to visit Antwerp Baroque 2018

The cultural city-wide festival “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires” kicks off on June 1st. Four major exhibitions are also set to open on this date. So dive into the festive opening weekend, like a Baroque bon vivant. Immerse yourself in the world of the Baroque, with a whirl of parties, performances, concerts and exhibitions.


1. Michaelina, Baroque’s leading lady

The “Michaelina” exhibition showcases the exceptional talent of an artist who rose to fame at a time when women artists were very rare. We know very little about her life (1604-1689) but the art she created is simply phenomenal. She excelled because of her talent, her guts and her versatility.

The MAS welcomes Baroque’s Leading Lady from 1 June.

2. Experience traps

A forest that smells like an energy drink. A gigantic bouncy castle and special open-air performances. That is what you get if you ask contemporary artists to work with the ideas behind the Baroque landscape. Experience Traps is an exhibition that will confuse, trick and surprise you.

From 1 June at the Middelheim Museum.

3. Sanguine

Sanguine | Bloedrood is one of the biggest exhibitions during the cultural city-wide festival “Antwerp Baroque 2018”. With this exhibition in the M HKA, the curator Luc Tuymans hopes to create a dialogue between the old Baroque masters and contemporary artists. He has chosen to contrast masterpieces by Caravaggio, van Dyck and Rubens with classic works by contemporary artists such as Edward Kienholz and Michaël Borremans.

From 1 June at M HKA.

4. Rubens’ return

There can be no doubts about the fact that Peter Paul Rubens was Antwerp’s greatest Baroque painter. He was already famous during his lifetime. Rubens was a brilliant artist, who managed a large workshop, designed his own home and who travelled around Europe as a diplomat. The collection of the Rubens House will be enriched with a number of art historical masterpieces.

Definitely a good opportunity to (re-)discover the Rubens House.

5. Nude by Paul Kooiker 

Paul Kooiker’s work is about looking, about voyeurism and distance. About the world that creeps into a photographer’s studio and how the photographer steps out into the world, with an open mind and gaze, in response to this. The exhibition Untitled (Nude) is an alternative retrospective of Kooiker’s work, raising questions about his position as a photographer, the spectator and his own gaze.

From 29 June at FOMU

6. Jan Fabre

Jan Fabre has created three new altarpieces for the AMUZ early music centre, in the former Church of St. Augustine. He has followed the same brief that Rubens, Jordaens and van Dyck received in 1628 for his commission. The works of these artists are now part of the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. Fabre’s work will fill the empty walls again.

From 3 July at AMUZ

7. Baroque Murals

4 artists, 4 styles, 4 Baroque motifs, 4 murals. The graffiti artist Yvon Tordoir and his fellow artists, Astro from Paris, Smug from Glasgow and El Mac from Los Angeles, will be giving four Antwerp walls a modern yet Baroque make-over.

The works are on display from early June onwards in Antwerp’s city centre.