Youngsters visit the reopened Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp ‘you only really know a piece of art once you’ve seen it in real life’

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp opened to much fanfare last week, grabbing headlines across the world. 25.000 people visited the opening weekend, VRT reported, but who were those people? Are young people still interested in art made centuries ago?

The museum has spent significant effort in appealing to youth, partnering with radio station MNM, which has a young audience, and organising a competition in which anyone can participate. The museum has already pulled in these youngsters, and they eagerly shared which artwork touched them the most.

‘I really enjoyed seeing ‘The Intrigue’ by James Ensor because I was taught about it often times during art-history classes. But you only really know a piece of art once you’ve seen it in real life.’
– Jonna, 21

‘The Intrigue’ by James Ensor (CC0 1.0)

‘Dromerij’ by Rik Wouters (CC0) (Collectie KMSKA – Vlaamse Gemeenschap)

‘A particular favourite of mine is the statue called ‘Dromerij’ by Rik Wouters. Rik’s most carefree and beautiful works were his sculptures and this is a beautiful example. It’s both mesmerizing and relaxing.‘
– Tom, 38

‘My favourite painting is ‘Judith’ by Jan Massijs. I’m a big fan of women being portrayed as powerful, especially when they are also pictured holding a sword as their weapon of choice. Judith saves her city, Bethulia, by infiltrating the camp of the enemy, where she beheads General Holofernes of Assyria after seducing him and getting him drunk. I love the detailing of her garment, her proud smirk, and the backdrop of the camp, where there is chaos after discovering the body. She seems completely unaffected by it all, and has a tight grip on his head.’
– Elen, 27

‘Judith’ by Jan Massijs (CC0)

‘Almost anyone can find a favourite art work in a collection as exquisite as the one of the KMSKA‘, Tom concludes.

Text: IJsbrand van Lambalgen
Photo above: VISITFLANDERS (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)