Church of Our Lady, Bruges, Belgium

Bruges has a surprising number of spires and towers. Surprising, if, like me, you rarely research the place you’re visiting. That way get immense surprises like this:

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Wandering around the streets while we decided if we wanted to go on a boat trip (we did!) we popped in to one of many churches I’d been holding back from darting into – my travelling companions are not quite as church-crazy as me. At the time I didn’t know the name of this church, or the significance of the artwork, but as the Magi are my favourite part of the Christmas story, I was just so excited to see this.

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The painting is by Gerard Seghers, dated 1630, and shows The Adoration of the Magi. Seghers was born in Antwerp and was a master painter by the age of only seventeen in 1608. He travelled in Italy and Spain, and in Italy he became influenced by the legacy of Caravaggio’s work. However, by the 1630s he was greatly influenced by the work of Rubens and this picture is one of the earliest productions and used the same composition that Rubens painted. It’s naturalistic and colossal. Really took my breath away.

The rest of the interior was difficult to explore as there was a charge (I’m a firm convert to PAYF) and as well as major restoration work to the interior. And my pals had certainly got ‘church fatigue’.

Highlights of our brief explore included this amazing church chest:

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And this beautiful textile:

 

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More information would be much appreciated! It’s just wonderful!

The Church of Our Lady has the second tallest brick spire in the world at 199m high and we got some great views of it around the city. The nave began to be built in 1225, and there were several further phases of construction and addition of works of art. Since the church is Roman Catholic, the decorations and treasures are in situ and it does give an amazing impression of conspicuous consumption.

 

I’ll have to return when the restoration finishes in 2018, but in the meantime it’s well worth a ten minute trip in – light a candle and be astonished!

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