Page images
PDF
EPUB

are

The Beffroi.-Belfry tower, 386 feet high, erected twelve chapels, which, as well as the choir, are in in 1183. Permission to erect a tower, or belfry, excellent keeping with the rest of the building. was the earliest privilege that the citizens ob- The choir which has two side aisles, is raised tained from their feudal lords, and was, hence, long above the floor of the body of the church by a regarded by them as a monument of their power flight of steps: in front is the grand altar, enclosed and wealth. It originally served as a watch by three bronze doors of elaborate workmanship, tower, from whence an enemy could be descried, and surmounted by Corinthian columns of the and in which was a tocsin-bell that called the purest Carrara marble, with a statue of the saint citizens to arms, and to debate. The gilt dragon in his ducal robes, and two colossal marble on the top was carried off from Bruges by the statues by Van Pouche, representing the apostles Gantoises, as a trophy of their conquest of that Peter and Paul. In front of the altar are four tall town, under Philip Vlaenderlandt. It has lately copper candlesticks, remarkable as having been been re-gilt. Its history is rather a remarkable the property of Charles the First of England. It one, it having originally adorned a Greek church is surmised that they may have adorned the at Constantinople, from whence it was carried off Chapel of Whitehall, or St. Paul's Church. It is by the men of Bruges, who went to the first supposed that they were sent out of England and crusade as soldiers under Baldwin, Count of sold; on them are still seen the arms of England. Flanders. The tower is now used as a prison, and The stalls of the canons in the Choir are said to had deposited in the lower part of it, not long since, be the finest specimens of carving in mahogany the title deeds and records of Ghent. From its known to exist in the world. Over these stalls top a inagnificent view can be bad, and the en- are eleven paintings in imitation of bas-relief, by trance to it lies through the shop of a watchmaker, P. Van Reyschoot. Most of the numerous chapels who charges 2 francs for admission. The following which line the Cathedral adorned with reply was made by Charles V. to his cruel and paintings. The first contains the Beheading of atrocious minister, Alva, who advised him to St. John the Baptist, by Crayer; the second, the destroy the city, “Combien faudrait-il de peaux Donation of St. Colette (a saint of Ghent, who d'Espagne pour fair un gant de cette grandeur?" died in 1447) of a piece of ground for a convent, —(How many skins of Spanish leather would it by Paelinck, a modern artist; the third, the Baptake to make such a glove?) Thus spoke the tism of our Saviour, by Crauwer; the fourth, a king, pointing out the city from the top of the Dead Christ, by Abraham Janssens; the sixth, Beffroi, and punning upon its name.

Christ disputing with the Doctors, by Pourbus, The Cathedral, 13th cent., is one of the handsomest

all the figures of which are portraits of different Gothic buildings in Belgium. It was formerly a individuals holding official situations under church dedicated to St. John, but took the name of

Phillip II. ; the seventh, a fine picture of the St. Bavon or Baefs in 1540, when Charles V. removed

Martyrdom of St. Barbe, by Crayer; the tenth, thither the collegiate chapter of the Abbey of that a Christ between the Thieves, by Van der Menen, saint, and 19 years afterwards it was raised to the a pupil of Van Dyck. In the eleventh is the Agnus dignity of a cathedral church. The present build- Dei, one of the most celebrated pictures of the ing was commenced in the thirteenth, and finished Flemish school, painted by the brothers Van in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Eyck, the inventors of oil painting, in 1482; and, majestic effect which the structure is calculated to though more than four hundred years have produce is much impaired by the want of an open elapsed since this picture was painted, the colours area around and in front. The tower is remark- retain a vividness truly wonderful, the numerous able for its elegance; it is 271 feet high, and the figures are all finished with the most elaborate ascent to the platform which terminates it is by care, and each countenance is endued with admir146 steps; the view from the summit is of great ably appropriate expression. The towers, which extent and beauty. The Cathedral itself is divided in the luminous horizon are supposed to represent into three aisles by a double range of light and the New Jerusalem, are painted from those of Maeselegant columns. On each side are disposed tricht, near which town the artists were born,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The Beffroi.-Belfry tower, 386 feet high, erected twelve chapels, which, as well as the choir, are in in 1183. Permission to erect a tower, or belfry, | excellent keeping with the rest of the building. was tho earlie tained from the regarded by the and wealth. tower, from wh and in which citizens to arm on the top wa Gantoises, as a town, under PI been re-gilt. one, it having at Constantino by the men crusade as SO Flanders. The had deposited i the title deeds top a magnifice trance to it lie who charges 2 reply was mad atrocious min destroy the cit d'Espagne pou -(How many take to make king, pointing Beffroi, and pi

The Cathedrc Gothic buildin church dedicat St. Bavon or B thither the col saint, and 19 y dignity of a cs ing was comm in the beginnit majestic effect produce is mu area around ai able for its ele ascent to the 146 steps; the extent and bes into three aisk elegant colum

Above this picture are three smaller ones by the one of the most beautiful in Belgium. It is comsame artists; the centre represents Christ on a posed of white marble and oak. The tree of life throne, holding a crystal sceptre, surmounted by supports the pulpit, and covers the sounding-board a large sapphire; the transparency of the crystal with its branches. At the foot of the tree is seate I is represented with an effect almost magical: the a figure of Time, represented as a venerable old left-hand picture is an exquisite representation of man, whose eyes are covered with a thick veil, the Virgin, and that on the right is an equally

which he is lifting up in order to contemplate the fine figure of St. John the Baptist. These four

features of Truth, who presents herself before pictures, whether considered with reference to the

him as a beautiful woman, holding an open book, date of their execution, or to their intrinsic merit,

in which are traced the words “Surge qui dormis

illuminabit te Christus," "Arise thou that must rank among the most valuable in Belgium.

sleepest, Christ shall give thee light." At the In the fourteenth chapel is a fine picture by foot of each staircase are two angels. The four Rubens, representing the Reception of St. Amand fronts of this exquisite piece of workmanship, in the Abbey of St. Bavon, after he had given all

which cost 37,000 florins (£2,960), are ornamented his property to the poor.

The fifteenth contains

with bas-reliefs in white marble. the Resurrection of Lazarus, by Otto Vennius,

Another most perfect work of art in this the master of Rubens, and also Judas Maccabeus cathedral is the mausoleum of Bishop Triest, seeking a place of Burial for his Soldiers. In the

by Jerome Duquesnoy; it consists of a statue of sixteenth is the Martyrdom of St. Lieven, the the bishop contemplating the cross borne by our patron of Ghent, by Seghers. The seventeenth Saviour. On the opposite side is a figure of the has a copy from Rubens' picture of the Martyr- | Virgin, and two small angels are stationed at the dom of St. Catherine, the original of which is in bottom of the mausoleum. the Church of St. Catherine, at Lille. In front of The visitor should not leave St. Bavon without the chapel is the mausoleum of Bishop G. Van descending into the Crypt, a low subterranean Eersel, executed by Charles Van Pouche and F.

arch under the choir. It is divided into five Janssens, after the designs of the former. The

chapels, adorned with paintings, and containing nineteenth chapel contains the Seven Works of

the tombs of John and Hubert Van Eyck, and his Mercy, by Coexie; in the twentieth is the font in

sister, also a painter, who might be reckoned an which Charles V. was baptised; the twenty-first

enthusiast in the art, as she rejected all offers of has the Assumption of the Virgin, by Crayer; in

marriage, in order to devote herself entirely to its the twenty-second is one of the finest productions study. of Crayer, representing St. Machaire praying for The Church of St. Nicholas is one of the most the cessation of the plague; before the altar is a ancient in Ghent. It was burned in 1120, but bas-relief in white marble, by M. Portois, repre- re-built on the same plan. This edifice suffered senting the body of St. Machaire carried in pro- much in the religious wars. The church of St. cession.

Pierre is a building of the seventeenth century. The altar-piece of the twenty-third chapel repre

It is approached through a beautiful square, and sents St. Stambart carrying burning coals on an

contains a few good paintings by Crayer, Jangunconsumed surplice to St. Sandoalt; this pic- sens, &c. ture is by Van Huffel. The twenty-fourth and

The Church of St. Michael, in the centre of the last chapel contains a Descent from the Cross, by city, is remarkable for the elegance and lightness Rambants, which is esteemed the finest production of its architecture, of a mixed style, partly floridof that artist. The organ has a fine tone, but is Gothic, partly Renaissance, which is seen to advanplaced in a situation which offends the eye, from tage from the open space in which it is situated. interfering with the harmony of the construction The square tower which surmounts the church, of the rest of the edifice. The Pulpit, which is was begun in 1440, and was to have been carried the workmanship of Lawrence Delvaux, of Ghent, to a height of 400 feet, but the design has never is in the centre of the right nare, and is considered been completed. In the twelfth chapel of this edifice, is a magnificent picture of the Crucifixion, | in Belgium is six thousand. New buildings at by Van Dyck, the only work of this master which Eecloo (rail in forty minutes), now replace the old is to be found in any of the public buildings of house, or Grand Béguinage, a moated pile, which Ghent. Each of the chapels, which are twelve in was situated in the Rue des Bruges, and wasfounded number, contain one or more pictures of various | by Jane, Countess of Constantinople, in 1234. merit. It will be sufficient to direct the attention There is also a Petit Béguinage, with 400 girls of a of the amateur to the Annunciation, by Lens, and poorer class. The first chapel was built in 1242. The the Assumption, by François, both in the newly

sisters live in separate houses, and each door has finished chapel, to the right of the cross of the inscribed on it the name of some saint, chosen as church; the Apotheosis of St. Catherine in the its protectress. Visitors to Ghent should see this third chapel, by Crayer, and the Finding of the church at the hour of vespers, which are sung at Cross, by the Empress Helena, whose figure, | half-past seven each evening. The scene is most represented in the picture, was furnished by the impressive. The sisters are all dressed in black Empress Josephine, who sat for the model. There

robes with white veils; the novices are distinare also in this church numerous paintings by guished by a different dress, whilst those who Belgian artists, and a St. Francis, of Paula, by have but lately taken the veil are distinguished by Ribera. The organ recently erected in this church

a chaplet, which they wear around their heads. is remarkable for its sweetness. The pulpit of

The chapel, barely illuminated by a few lamps, massive mahogany is bandsome. The other prin

and the solemn singing, together with the large cipal churches worth visiting are those of Saint assemblage of sisters, so picturesquely dressed, Pierre, St. Nicholas, and St. Jacques; this latter impart to the scene an aspect of solemn grandeur church is situated in a vast square.

It was

and mystic beauty. The chapel itself is interestdestroyed in 1720, and afterwards rebuilt.

ing in the extreme, and on the stone work of one St. Jacques has two good paintings of Van

of its pillars, was inscribed the following touching Cleef, and some monumental sculpture of merit

inscription by Lamartine:from the chisel of Van Poucke.

Un peu de baume à la souffrance, The Church of St. Martin has a magnificent Au corps quelque rèmede, aux âmes l'esperance, painting of the Resurrection, by Crayer, said to be Un secours au malade, aux parents un adieu his master-piece.

Un sourire à chacun, à tous un mot de Dieu." The Dominican Oratory deserves to be inspected The Hôtel de Ville is situated partly in the Rue on account of its bold and lofty wooden vault,

Haute Porte, and partly in La Marché-au-Beure. designed by the Dominican Francis Romain, in The portion standing in the former street, built 1700.

in the Gothic style of architecture, presents a The Beguinage.-The community of Béguines magnificent appearance, and is adorned with was founded by St. Bagge, Duchess of Brabant, exquisitely wrought ornaments.

It has two and sister of Philip of Landen. The community façades, built at intervals between 1482 and 1620, is peculiar to the Netherlands. Clement V. issued after several plans, by as many architects. The a bull against these sisters, but John XXII.

turret or tribune at the corner was built in 1527revoked it, and accorded them many indulgences. 1560 by Eustace Polleyt, and is in the richest It is one of the few nunneries not swept away by flamboyant Gothic style. The other façade, built the fury of the French revolution, or suppressed between 1600 and 1620, has columns of three by Joseph II. Their existence received a legal

different orders of architecture, one surmounting ratification in 1826. The sisters are bound by no the other. In the Salle du Trone, so celebrated vow, and may return to the world at any time. in the annals of Ghent, was signed the treaty Their chief duty is to attend to the sick and visit known as the “Pacification of Ghent," drawn up, the hospitals, where they are constantly to be in 1576, by the congress of confederates, who met with. In the order are persons of the highest assembled to adopt measures calculated to drive families and wealth. The sisters in Gb amount the Spaniards out of Belgium. The bust of to about one hundred, whilst their entire number | Philip van Artevelde, the famous Captain-General

« PreviousContinue »