Saint Paul's Church

De Geseling - Peter Paul Rubens

Sint-Paulusstraat 22, Antwerpen

What is the one place, apart from a museum, where we can find paintings by the three greatest Baroque painters of Antwerp: Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens? The Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp! And visitors who get tired of all the Baroque magnificence can take a breather in the serene Calvary garden. 

De Geseling - Peter Paul Rubens

Saint Paul's Church

Saint Paul's Church is located in Antwerp’s old town, a stone’s throw away from the Scheldt river. It was mainly a sailors’ district. The late-Gothic church was built in the 16th century for the Dominican monastery and is dedicated to the Apostle Paul. In spite of its turbulent history, it was able to hold on to quite a few valuable artworks. Today, the site consists of a church with corridors of the former monastery, a lush garden, ruins of the monastery, and a unique Calvary garden with more than 60 sculptures depicting the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

The Flagellation of Christ - Peter Paul Rubens

The Confraternity of the Holy Rosary commissioned a cycle of fifteen paintings in 1617 that were to depict the mysteries of the rosary. There were a total of eleven painters from Antwerp involved in the project, but the most well-known among them were Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. The paintings depict passages from the life of Jesus and Mary, so the illiterate masses might learn the stories of the Bible. Rubens’s painting was paid for by rich merchant Louis Clarisse whose son, Marcus Antonius, was one of the monks at the Dominican monastery. The Flagellation of Christ is the 7th painting in the cycle. It shows Christ tied to a column, with His back towards the viewer. Four executioners are whipping His now bleeding back  while one of them is kicking His calves to make him stumble to the ground. A dog can be seen barking at the scene. In 1794, the French carried the painting off to Paris, but it would return to its original spot in 1816.

De Kruisdraging - Antoon van Dyck
De Kruisdood - Jacques Jordaens

Christ Carrying the Cross - Anthony van Dyck

Jan van den Broeck, who had been chaplain at the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary and the city of Antwerp since 1611, commissioned Christ Carrying the Cross from Anthony van Dyck for 150 guilders. The work is the 9th painting in the cycle and Van Dyck painted it when he was not yet 20 years old. Ten composition drawings remain. The painting brings together several scenes from the Stations of the Cross: we see Jesus fall as soldiers force Him to march on, we see Him meeting His mother, who is covering her tears with a blue cloak, and lastly we see a red-cloaked Simon of Cyrene ready to help Jesus carry the Cross. In the 17th century, the painting was put in the altar of the Holy Cross and had to be shortened by 8 cm on top and bottom to fit. Then in 1794, the French took it to Paris. But it has remained neatly in place since 1816.

The Crucifixion - Jacob Jordaens

Magdalena Lewieter paid 150 guilders to Jacob Jordaens for The Crucifixion, the 10th painting in the cycle. We see a dead Jesus nailed to the Cross, the parchment with the inscription flapping in the wind. The four people who are there - Mary, Saint John the Evangelist, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas - are depicted to the right and left of the Cross. They are mourning the great loss. Like its counterparts, this painting was carried off by the French in 1794, but returned to the church in 1816.

Practical information


Sint-Paulusstraat 22
2000 Antwerpen
View directions

Opening times

  • 1 April to 31 October from Monday to Sunday from 2 until 5 pm.
  • 1 November to 31 March, on Saturdays, Sundays and on Belgian school holidays from 2 until 5 pm.


Disabled access

  • The church and treasury are easy to access for the disabled.
  • The archaeological site and Calvary garden are difficult to access for the disabled due to the steps.


Nice to know

  • Admission: €5.00 for standard tickets

Other sites nearby

Sint-Jacobskerk Antwerpen
The Saint James’ Church was built between 1490 and 1656. The interior overwhelms you with its Baroque, marble furnishings and 24 altars.