Works of Jacob Jordaens at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels

11 October 2012

Through a series of masterworks by the Flemish Baroque painter Jacob Jordaens, selected from the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel in Germany, the exhibition ‘Jordaens and the Antique’ provides a never-before-seen vision of Jordaens's work from the vantage point of the classical tradition.

The exhibition is separated into nine chronological and thematic sections, showing Jordaens’s (Antwerp, 1593-1678) artistic development as a witness to the wealth of Antiquity's literary and artistic heritage. These range from his initial training in Antwerp to his exploration of specific themes such as Aesop's tale of The Satyr and the Peasant, the cornucopia and fertility in Antiquity, bacchanales and richly-coloured tapestries.

Thanks to the collaboration of the partner institutions, visitors are treated to paintings, drawings, tapestries and sculptures from major museums grouped around the theme of Antiquity. In addition to works by this Flemish master, this exceptional exhibition includes works by his celebrated contemporaries such as Peter Paul Rubens, Abraham Janssen, Hendrick van Balen and Hendrick Goltzius, which serve to situate Jacob Jordaens’s work in the artistic context of his time.

Of the well-known Flemish trio “Rubens - Van Dyck - Jordaens,” Jacob Jordaens has been studied the least. The exhibition will present an entirely new picture of Jordaens. Instead of the painter of uncomplicated genre scenes - works like Twelfth Night, or The King Drinks, and As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe - we find an artist intelligent enough to take over part of Rubens’s market share with lively mythological and antique scenes.

Loans of around 120 paintings and drawings, tapestries and sculptures from major museums of Spain (Prado), Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst), the United Kingdom (Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery) and Austria (Albertina), and from little-known private collections, supplemented with key works from Brussels and Kassel, will offer the public lesser known yet unexpectedly engaging episodes from classical antique sources - from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Diogenes Laertius’s Lives and Opinions of Famous Philosophers.

Jordaens and the Antique
Friday Oct 12th, 2012 - Sunday Jan 27th, 2013
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

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