Who is the best at painting? James Ensor or Jan Vanriet?
The first thing you think, when you’re walking through those rooms is: indeed, this museum is in need of a renovation. Then those paintings capture your attention and you start to get really intrigued by those sometimes strange combinations of old masters and ‘new’ paintings by Belgian painter Jan Vanriet. For Closing time, the final exhibition at Antwerp’s Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten (through October 3) before it closes for renovation, Vanriet was asked to choose paintings from their collection and pair them with his own work. He did so in twenty ‘chapters’. It’s brave of Vanriet to have accepted the invitation of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, because often he loses: those old paintings (James Ensor, Anthony van Dyck, Rubens…) are just too powerful. But it must be said that this is an exhibition that gets you thinking. It certainly is a good way to get people to revisit this classic Antwerp museum, it makes you discover the many paintings of Vanriet (170!) and it offers a good reason to take a good last look at those old walls and spaces before they get redone. In October the museum will close its doors until 2014. The catalogue (Dutch/English) is published by Ludion.