A beloved art museum in Flanders, Belgium, reopens to the long-awaiting public. Was it worth the wait?
Eleven years ago, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA / Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen) closed to begin a renovation that was just recently completed. The museum welcomed longtime lovers of the KMSKA — and an entirely new generation — through its doors on September 24.
“Museums are places of imagination and reflection,” said Luc Delrue, Secretary General of Flanders’ Department of Culture, Youth, and Media. “The KMSKA will undoubtedly help many visitors, young and old, to discover their place in life. At last, our children and grandchildren can once again enjoy the extraordinary and brilliant art we have created in Flanders over the centuries.”
It was worth the wait. The museum houses the largest collection of art — 8,400 pieces in total — in Flanders, the northern region of Belgium. With the reconstruction and renovations, visitors can enjoy 40% more exhibition space compared to the original layout, showcasing seven centuries of fine art. Walking inside, you may find yourself stunned by the initial beauty of the immense paintings that greet you as you choose your path.
The new space is organized by two major periods, Old Masters and Modern Artists, which are bridged by a wing devoted to the largest collection of James Ensor art in the world. “The KMSKA [was] too often still only associated with Old Masters,” said Luk Lemmens, Chairman of the KMSKA Foundation. “Thanks to the space gained, our fantastic collection of modern art gets the place it deserves.”
It’s important to note that the museum’s efforts in the renovation include making visitors’ experience more interactive and immersive. For example, children in particular (as well as adults) will enjoy “The Ten,” an adventurous journey to find 10 surprising installations throughout the collection. Don’t just look at them, though — get a free booklet and participate in fun, creative “assignments” as you tour the museum.
Temporary exhibitions include “The Making Of: The KMSKA From Concept to Realization — with Photographs by Karin Borghouts,” “Cosmorama: Ives Maes,” and “The Poetry of the Abstract: Michel Seuphor.”
Stay tuned for a full feature article on the KMSKA and surrounding area, including additional art museums and art destinations, in an upcoming issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it!