THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.Snijders Rockoxhuis phoebus
in Flemish Portraits.

14 March – 31 December 2020.


The recent decision of the (Flemish) government to close all cultural institutions means that the doors of the 4 locations of the exhibition BLIND DATE will also be temporarily closed from Thursday October 29th.

People with a ticket for the period after October 29th will be contacted. If you have any further questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We hope the situation improves soon and will keep you informed.

Take care of each other. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon.



Cossiers Phoebus

Portraits from the Renaissance and the Baroque: what do these long-forgotten people from centuries past mean to us?
They gaze at us, perhaps with a half-smile, or else ignore us completely. Without uttering a word. All the same, they have so much to tell. About their fascinating lives and who they were or hoped to be. Allow your eyes to stray over these works and discover the many clues they conceal.

The Phoebus Foundation owns a wealth of portraits like this. So many and so varied that we’ve teamed up with the Snyders&Rockox House for an exhibition that highlights the genre of portrait painting in all its facets: from selfie to group portrait. It’s being held at four locations in central Antwerp.

Your host at the Snyders&Rockox House is Nicolaas Rockox himself. He had his own portrait painted several times: as an intellectual, a politician and a society figure. You’ll meet all sorts of contemporaries at his home: distinguished ladies, wealthy gentlemen and dignitaries, but also kitchen maids and merrymakers.

In the Emperor’s Chapel, further up Keizerstraat, things are a little more restrained: faith is a serious business, after all. But those who had themselves immortalized as donors still wanted to show their best side.

Exceptional children’s portraits are presented in St Charles Borromeo’s Church. Grateful parents donated these touching likenesses, in which toddlers pose as mini-adults.

And at the Vleeshuis Museum, several monumental paintings by Frans Snyders prove that early-modern people were not just fond of fashion but of fine food too.

Besides the portraits themselves, the exhibition presents the accessories with which the sitters posed: games, combs, jewellery and much more besides. Objects that make the portraits even more tangible.

Come face to face with people who are more like you than you might think. Take a chance on a blind date. 





Walking tour


Visitors Guide

BlindDate Cover E small

Purchase a visitor guide at the desk for free
You can also download a copy.




Blind Date has been organized by the Phoebus Foundation and the Snyders&Rockox House.
Partners: Katoen Natie, KBC, INDAVER, Jan De Nul Group, Keizerskapel, Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk, Museum Vleeshuis and BUVETEX.


Family reunion at the Snyders&Rockox House

Adriaen and Catherine Rockox visit their grandson Nicolaas with their thirteen children.

St James’s Church in Antwerp is lending the celebrated Van Hemessen Triptych to the Snyders&Rockox House for several years

kn003601totaalbeeld uitknip rechtThe City of Antwerp, with the support of the Flanders Heritage Agency, is about to start work on restoring St James’s Church (Sint-Jacobskerk). The project will take about ten years to complete in all, with two principal phases. During the first of these, the church will close the nave and aisles in mid-January 2019, while the transept, choir and ambulatory chapels will remain open. As a result, several important altars and artworks will no longer be accessible to the public, including The Last Judgement or Rockox Triptych by Jan van Hemessen (Hemiksem, c. 1500–1556/57). For the next five years or so, the imposing work will be hosted at the Snyders&Rockox House Museum.

Adriaen Rockox (1460–1540), chamberlain to Emperor Charles, and Catherine van Overhoff (1486–1549), related to the Lords of Breda and the aristocratic Liere family, enjoyed considerable prestige in Antwerp. They lived in Keizerstraat, where they owned various buildings. In 1515, Adriaen and Catherine purchased the Chapel of St Dymphna in St James’s Church as their future burial place. Twenty years later they commissioned a triptych from Jan van Hemessen, the central panel of which shows the Last Judgement. The couple appear in the side panels, accompanied by their thirteen children. Catherine and their ten daughters are shown on the right, with Adriaen on the left with their three sons, including Adriaen Jr., the father of Nicolaas Rockox, our former burgomaster.

The Snijders&Rockox House.

Snijders Rockox openingsaffiche en

Nicolaas Rockox and Frans Snijders were key figures in Antwerp during the Baroque era. Each made his mark on the city’s cultural and social life – Nicolaas as burgomaster and Frans as a brilliant painter of animals and still lifes. They were also next-door neighbours for 20 years in Keizerstraat.

Their original homes, now carefully restored, both belong to KBC, which opened the Rockox House as a museum some years ago and is now doing the same with the Snijders House. The everyday world of 17th-century citizens will be evoked through items from the museum’s own collection, supplemented by loans from museums and private collections in Belgium and abroad.

We will be able to view Nicolaas and Frans’s domestic environment through their own eyes, along with the making and promotion of art, collecting and display, markets and richly set tables, nature and gardens, and the humanist and the average citizen in the turbulent era in which they lived.



Snijders&Rockoxhuis respects your data privacy.
Why cookies? Simply because they are used to help the website function, to improve your browser experience, to integrate with social media and to show relevant advertisements tailored to your interests. Click 'I understand' to accept cookies and go directly to the site or click more information.

I accept