Nicolaas II Rockox

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Nicolaas Rockox
Nicolaas Rockox by Otto van Veen.jpg
Nicolaas II Rockox,
painted by Otto van Veen.
Mayor of Antwerp
Monarch Philip II of Spain
Personal details
Born (1560-12-14)14 December 1560
Died 12 December 1640(1640-12-12) (aged 79)
Spouse(s) Adriana Perez (1568–1619)
Heraldic crest
Rockox is depicted on the right panel, Descent-tryptich

Nicolaas II Rockox (1560–1640), knight, was a mayor of Antwerp. He is known to have been a personal friend of Peter Paul Rubens, and was the first resident of the Rockox House.


He was the son of Adrian II and Isabella van Olmen and a nephew of John III van de Werve, Lord of Hovorst. He was a first cousin of Lancelot II of Ursel, mayor of Antwerp.

In 1589, in Antwerp Cathedral, he married Adriana Perez (1568–1619), child of the rich Spanish merchant Luis Perez (1532–1601) and Maria van Berchem.[1] He died without children in the Rockox House.[2]


Rockox studied in Douai and Leuven, completing his law studies on 24 August 1584.[3] He was a member of the civic militia and defended the city in service of Philips of Marnix, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde when Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, attacked Antwerp. Rockox studied the fortifications from Jean Errard,[4] Bar-le-Duc and had the outer walls of Antwerp repaired and improved.

In 1590, he was knighted by the Archdukes Albert and Isabella. He was put on the list of honours when their Joyous Entry took place.

In 1603 Rockox bought the house named Gulden Rinck and developed it into his main residence, now known as the Rockox House. It housed an important collection of art and of curiosities, famous in his own time. His collection included a Samson and Delilah painted for him by his friend Rubens. After 1608 the friendship between them was very close. Rockox commissioned several paintings from him, including The Incredulity of Saint Thomas. Other friends of Rockox include Abraham Ortelius, who taught him the art of numismatics, and the young Anthony van Dyck, who painted several portraits for him.

Rockox served several terms as mayor of Antwerp. He died in the Rockox House and was buried in the church of the Recollect convent, where he had had a private chapel built for his deceased wife in 1619.[5] Because he had no children, his property was given to the poor, in devotion. During his life Rockox spent an important part of his private fortune to benefit the poor. He commanded that a public reserve of grain be prepared for the poor in case of war or siege. He paid 45,300 florins for this from his private fortune. After his death his famous collection of artworks spread to other collections worldwide.


Rockox commissioned multiple paintings from Peter Paul Rubens. Some of these commissions were for the public, while others were for his private residence. Among those he commissioned for the public included Adoration of the Magi for the Antwerp City Hall, Descent from the Cross for the city's Arquebusiers' Guild's altar, and Doubting Thomas for Rockox's chapel. Rockox's private commissions from Rubens included Samson and Delilah. At the time of his death, Rockox had 87 works in his personal collection. Other artists represented within this collection included Anthony van Dyck, Frans Snyders, Jan van Eyck, and Pieter Bruegel. After his death, his art collection was sold publicly.[6]


In 1961 Rockox was put on a Belgian stamp.


  1. ^ "Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections". Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  2. ^ "Balat Kik-Irpa". Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  3. ^ "Nicolaas Rockox (1560–1640) - Burgemeester van de Gouden Eeuw" (in Dutch). 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  4. ^ La fortification démonstrée et réduicte en art / par feu J. Errard
  5. ^ Biografieën Collectie Onderzoek Beleef meer. "Nicolaas Rockox | Barok in de Zuidelijke Nederlanden". Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  6. ^ Veronique van Passel, "Rockox, Nicolaas", Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.