Saturday 24 September 2022 will be very special for anyone with a love of the arts. On this day, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) will finally reopen its doors!
For eleven long years, this magnificent temple to the arts has been closed to the public out of necessity. The iconic building was in dire need of thorough restoration and expansion, which has taken some time.
There was a lot to be done. The museum’s interior and exterior were both addressed. The facade was restored and the entrance enlivened by a new mosaic. Every square inch of the interior has received attention and a new, stately museum garden was created to further enhance the visitor experience. Subsequently, the existing building’s four historic terraces have been transformed which has expanded the museum’s capacity. Redefining these areas has gained KMSKA a remarkable 40% more exhibition space. These historic premises are now ready to face the future. It has been a long journey, but it’s almost over now.
After years of waiting, we look forward to a joyous, poignant reunion with the very best that our Flemish Masters – and their international colleagues – have to offer us: glorious splendour, magnificence and masterpieces. The new Rubens Hall will be one of the main focal areas of the updated KMSKA. As the name indicates, this hall centres around the altar pieces of Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. It is Antwerp’s ode to one of its greatest citizens.
There is also plenty of room for other greats, of course. James Ensor, for example, is one of the most important innovators behind countless modernist trends. The KMSKA is home to the world’s largest collection of his works. The updated museum paints an effervescent picture of his pioneering artistic career.
Besides paying particular attention to the Flemish Masters, the updated KMSKA also contrasts them with their successors. It’s as if they’ve crossed the centuries and entered into dialogue with their modern counterparts.
And that’s just the beginning of all the exceptional offerings at Antwerp’s Royal Museum of Fine Arts. As Flanders’ largest museum, KMSKA has a collection of over 8,000 works of art, around 650 of which will be on permanent display under the new arrangements.
From 24 September, we will all be able to share in this bounty again. If you want to experience it for yourself, tickets are now for sale. See you there!