The Lucas Guild of Painters and Sculptors, established in 1442, was the original owner of the majority of the collection now housed inside the Royal Museum of Fine Art (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten).
The art pieces amassed over the years came into the ownership of the Academy of Fine Arts after the guild was disbanded in 1773.
To make up for this, the collection received a sizable number of gifts from Florent van Ertborn, a former burgomaster of Antwerp, in the middle of the 19th century, primarily paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries.
When the academy realized it didn’t have enough room for the expanded collection, it was decided to construct a new museum.
Two floors serve as home to the collection. Around 1,500 works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries are mostly on display on the ground level, giving visitors an outstanding overview of the evolution of the plastic arts in Belgium since 1830.
The majority of the more than 1,000 pieces in the Old Masters show on the first level are from the Dutch and Flemish schools.