What a way to leave Antwerp: Revisiting two museums and seeing the art of several churches, including many Rubens, topped off with a visit to the City Museum -- Mas -- and an enjoyable encounter in a liquor store with the Sri Lankan couple who own it.
Lunch near the Cathedral included my favorite -- mussels in wine -- and a Koenig beer. Earlier I had another Belgian waffle (mid-morning snack) and later I'll have a chocolate. Also, later I will add pictures. (I had planned to go to Bruges but decided I'd rather not take a train ride for a couple of hours -- I've been flirting with a cold and staying close to home seemed the better part of valor. I feel physically very well now despite a busy day of art). Antwerp, Antwerp.
Rubens tomb in St. Jacob's Church and his Visual Obituary of Joyful Entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom
Because of the legend that a hero slew a giant and threw his hand into the River, the "hand" is a symbol all over Antwerp. I'll post pictures of the statue that is a dove on one side and a hand on the other. There's a concrete hand. The new Mas museum has tiny metal objects spread across its dramatic stone facade, and you guessed it, these marks are all tiny hands. So this morning, I think I'm getting the gist of this. I see two hands beckoning from the center of a city square. "More hands I see!" Then as we passed the statue, I saw from the front it was an osprey -- I had been looking at its wings from aft as we sailors say! Oh, well, maybe the artist intended the visual double-entendre anyway.
Rubens is so fascinating. Not only was he an incredible painter, a designer of interiors for churches (architectural and sculptural components) but also he was a diplomat, playing a role to help keep Belgium free from domination by various countries always vying for it. Seeing the Breughel prints again was also interesting. Especially I liked the landscapes some of which depicted simple living and others a religious theme such as Jesus meeting the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Tying some of this together is the Plantin Press which is foremost in printing some of the earliest engravings and etchings of the Belgian masters. Many of the works we saw have been in the Plaintin-Morteus Museum.