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Library Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp


The library of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp combines a selection of modern books and journals on every aspect of the visual arts with a unique historical collection which dates back to the 17th century.

In this specialised art library you’ll find information on the practice and theory of the different art disciplines which are taught at the Academy, such as painting and drawing, graphic design, photography, jewellery design, sculpture, installation and body art, art history, performance art, and fashion design.

Opening Hours

  Monday to Friday   9:00 - 12:00 + 13:00 - 17:00

We’re closed on official and school holidays. Check the announcements at the entrance regularly for any changes.


Mutsaardstraat 31  
2000 Antwerp        


Useful links

•    Online library catalog
•    Online databases
•    Intranet for students
•    Website
•    General library regulations

Borrowing or consulting books?

1.    Visit the online library catalog to search for an author, the title of a book, an artist, a subject, …
2.    Filter the search results in the facet menu on the left by clicking AP-CMU under Institution. This way only the books which are actually in our collection will appear.
3.    Make a selection of the materials you wish to borrow or consult, and feel free to visit our reading room. The library staff will help you find what you're looking for.


Check the current measures against Covid-19 on FAQ Measures Coronavirus or contact us via email or Instagram with any questions you may have.

Projects in the library

Second Shelf

In the 1970s Elaine Sturtevant began operating an art practice in which she meticulously copied selected works of her male colleagues. Her practice was a critique of the culture of an art world dominated by the concept of the lone genius, autonomous, white male creator. 
The research project second shelf explores the influence of this culture on the library of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and asks how alternative canons can be generated in the library. The core of the project is the formation of a new collection of books which document the work of female, non-white and non-heterosexual artists and related theoretical texts.
Part of this process of raising awareness is thinking about the creative networks that libraries make evident (and sometimes conceal), and about the economy of art and of publishing. This is being explored through institutional relationships and particularly through the second shelf ‘mirror site’ at the Beeler Gallery. Here project collaborator Jo-ey Tang is posing similar questions about the books held by the Packard Library at Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, and organising parallel interventions.
Consult all the titles from the alternative canon here.


The Belgian Platform for Photobooks is an online space dedicated to the contemporary photobook in Belgium. Through articles, interviews, an online book catalogue and offline events, it aims to inform, but also to engage and inspire a growing photobook community.
Embedded within the artistic research program of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, the platform offers a source of information for students, photographers, artists, designers and anyone with an interest in photobooks.
Consult all available photobooks here.


With the establishment of the Academy within the Antwerp Saint Luke’s Guild in 1663, a first book collection was also created. Thanks to purchases and donations this humble selection would steadily grow into a fully-fledged library. In 1788, for example, the library received a convolute of four books by Albrecht Dürer (mid-16th century) from the then director Joseph Lunden.
Initially, the art and architecture books were used as educational material and reserved for teachers, but from 1853 students also gained access to the collection. In 1888 the current location with reading room was taken into use.
The campus library has since grown into an important cultural-historical library. Of the approximately 25,000 books and hundreds of magazines dealing with art and architecture, a considerable part dates back to the 19th century. Some fifty old prints date back from the 16th – 18th century. One of the most precious of these is Jacob Francart’s Premier livre d’architecture (1617), which was recognized in 2008 as a masterpiece of cultural heritage of the Flemish Community.
The library also housed a number of valuable archives, including the unique Saint Luke’s Archive documenting the history of the Antwerp Saint Luke’s Guild and the origin of the Academy (mid-15th century to late 18th century). This archive was also recognized as a masterpiece of the Flemish Community in 2013 and was transferred to the Antwerp City Archives in 2019 to guarantee its long-term conservation. Please contact the FelixArchief with any questions about consulting these valuable documents.
The Modern Archives of the Academy (19th and early 20th century) include administrative files, annual reports, personnel files, student registers, honour lists, and files on the Rome Prize. This archive would be transferred to the City Archives in the course of 2020-2021.
The collection of modern books is in an open shelves arrangement and can be consulted and borrowed by visitors. The historical collection, including some precious and rare works, can be consulted on request and by appointment in the reading room of the library.