The Rubenianum and the Centrum Rubenianum vzw (=non-profit association) share a single mission: to initiate and facilitate art-historical research on the Flemish art of the 16th and 17th centuries. The institution seeks to be a knowledge centre, based on its expertise, its collections and activities, serving the international research community and heritage professionals as well as private individuals with an interest in this subject.

With this aim in mind, the Rubenianum strives to present the most specialized and complete research collections in this field. Its academic art library contains over 92,000 titles: books, journals, articles and excerpts, and catalogues of exhibitions, museums and auctions. Its artwork documentation and special collections contain hundreds of thousands of photographs, notes, newspaper cuttings and archival documents. Researchers can consult the collections using systematic resources, both online and in a reading room that is accessible every weekday.

In addition, knowledge is shared in publications, and opinions are provided on art-historical subjects to private individuals and organizations, as well as in collaborative ventures and at international symposia. Research by Belgian and international guest researchers is actively supported.