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Baroque Influencers – Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library, Belgium

22 Apr — 10 Sep 2023

Baroque Influencers

Jesuits, Rubens and the Art of Persuasion


Today, the Nottebohm Room is the most ornate room at the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library. But did you know that 250 years ago a miraculous chapel could be found here? It was very popular with Antwerp’s elite, including Rubens and Van Dyck. The exhibition brings this mysterious location back to life.

Wander through the former chapel

Today, on the second floor of the building, you will find the beautiful Nottebohm Room. Recent research has revealed the appearance of the chapel once found there. The ‘Baroque Brotherhoods in the Nottebohm Room’ exhibition invites you to wander around it. Baroque paintings, prints, books and documents bring the chapel back to life. A virtual tour provides insights into the chapel’s structure. You also get to know the members of the sodalities better.

“Our investigation revealed a great deal. But quite a few questions remain unanswered,” says curator Steven Van Impe. “We hope the exhibition will help find new puzzle pieces. Perhaps we can trace undiscovered paintings. The discovery of the chapel does not stop with this exhibition.”

The ‘Baroque Brotherhoods in the Nottebohm Room’ exhibition is part of the city’s Baroque Influencers festival. With exhibits, concerts and other events, the city festival demonstrates how inspiring the Baroque era has been and continues to be.

Within the programme, the ‘Baroque Brotherhoods in the Nottebohm Room’ exhibition is part of a triptych ‘Jesuits, Rubens and the Art of Persuasion’ with exhibits in the Saint Charles Borromeo Church and in the Snijders&Rockox House. You can visit all three or each one separately. 

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