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During the latter part of the sixteenth century and the early part of the seventeenth, the Scheldt city of Antwerp enjoyed an especially favourable artistic and economic climate that made it the prime production and trading centre for luxury articles. It was a time when many patricians and merchants built up rich collections of contemporary and ancient art, though the majority of those collections have – alas – come to be dispersed in the course of time.
From 2 February 2013, however, visitors to the Rockox House in Antwerp will be able to see how an Antwerp art collection must have have appeared in the Golden Century. More particularly, the residence of burgomaster and patron Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640) is being transformed into a luxurious art cabinet with top items from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp(closed for renovation) and the most important works from the Rockox House itself. On display will be a range of fine paintings by such masters as Rogier Van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Jan van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens en Antoon Van Dyck.