As a beneficial coincidence, the houses of the two most important artists from the Netherlands have survived. Art lovers in Antwerp and Amsterdam strove to acquire the houses in order to “turn back time” to the days of Rubens and Rembrandt, and make them into places of local as well as universal veneration for these artists. As both houses had changed unrecognizably, the question if they should and could be made into artist house-museums was hotly debated and provoked an early public discussion on the issue of historical reconstruction.
This lecture is about the competitive interplay between the Flemish and Dutch initiatives in the creation of the respective house-museums. A fascinating aspect are the differing ways in which each house-museum has dealt with the dilemma of historical re-creation.
Arjan de Koomen is art historian affiliated to the University of Amsterdam. He teaches art of the Renaissance and Baroque period, with an emphasis on Italian and Dutch art. Recently, he has introduced so-called Technical Art History at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. At the moment he is program director of four disciplines and has joined the advisory board of the Dutch Institute in St. Petersburg. Eralier in his career he worked at the Rijksmusuem as curator of sculpture and at the Dutch Art Historical Institute in Florence, as sister institution of Petersburg's.