In the 16th and 17th centuries the Antwerp artists had a major influence on the visual culture. The art market of the 16th century asked for a new kind of image, in which neither patrons or place had a major influence anymore. The artists in Antwerp were the first to acknowledge this new trend with the magnificence of Rubens and the massive production of graphics as the finest examples. It is safe to say that the foundation of mass media was laid in the Antwerp art development in the 16th and 17th centuries. Even today the lower countries host the finest masters of visual art. The range of influence of these very artists on the contemporary visual arts cannot be underestimated.
A story of the Image combines past and present. It features art-historical masterpieces from the collection of KMSKA, such as paintings by Sir Anthony Van Dyck and David Teniers next to the works (belonging to the MuHKA) of innovative Flemish contemporary artists, such as Luc Tuymans, David Claerbout and Francis Alÿs.
The multitude of images and meanings was transposed into a frame that refers both to the traditional museological architecture and to a labyrinth. The diagonal transparent views into other halls provide for an extended dialogue between old and new masters. A succession of light and darkened rooms, with in-between the fragile 17th century paintings helps the visitor to find his way.