The Kolveniers portrayed

Beatrijs Wolters Van der Wey, 26 June 2011

In 1637 Antwerp’s civic guard, the Arquebusiers or Kolveniers, moved into newly-built guild premises near their training grounds on Hopland. This site, the Kolveniershof, is now the location of the Rubenianum. The spacious banquet hall on the first floor was soon decorated in luxurious style, with its walls boasting paintings by well-known Antwerp masters.

The Rubenianum lecture of 26 June 2011 focused on two group portraits of the Kolveniers about which little was known – unsurprisingly, since they perished in a fire in 1737. Despite this loss, however, it is possible to reconstruct the story of these portraits on the basis of archival sources and by studying a few small versions that have been preserved. The art historian Van der Wey revealed the turbulent conditions surrounding the genesis of the paintings and the background surrounding the specific portrayal of individual guild members.

Beatrijs Wolters van der Wey has since published her PhD dissertation on civic group portraits in the Southern Netherlands.