12 September, 2015

White beauty

One of my last impressions of Antwerp, and certinly one that fully deserves the "last but not least" saying. The huge white cathedral of Our Lady is probably the most prominent building in the city by the Scheldt, visible from about everywhere you go. I haven't been inside until my last day of summer school though.
I guess I got a little discouraged by the queque of people wating at the entrance every time I passed by. Maybe I even thought one gothic church more or less wouldn't really matter. In the end, it turns out the people were right and if there's a gothic church that is worth to have a look at, it might be this. 
3D maquette and a number of models that show the growth of the church from a small 9th century chapel to the huge cathedral it is today. Its size makes it hard to believe they planned to expand it to something a lot bigger. Turns out megalomanic plans are not an invention of modern times at all.
Huge stained glass windows, each decorated differently
Smiling Madonna
Red fabric and paintings on the gigantic pilars. The presentation is quite modest, but very effective.
Each row of pilars leads to a triptych by Peter Paul Rubens that can be considered one of the major artworks not only in the church, but beyond.
Triptych #1: The Elevation of the Cross. Huge. Beautiful. 
Triptych #2: The Descent from the Cross. Unlike the first one it is made of three different motifs, but again it is very huge and stunning.
Unlike many gothic churches, the cathedral of Antwerp is very bright inside
Main altar with another masterpiece of RubensAssumption of the Virgin Mary
Wood carvings around the main altar. With so many detailed ornaments, no wonder it took 40 years to complete them. 
Beautiful palisades
Side chapel of Saint Joseph
Wall paintings
Side altars in different styles
Fantastic wood carving
Some of the chapels that surround the main altar
Queen of Peace. Must be on holidays recently.
One of the doors, guarded by huge marble sculptures
Choir area above the main enrance

Finally, it was time to leave, and I didn't expect saying goodbye to Antwerp would be so difficult. The city makes you want to stay, leaving makes you sentimental and upon realizing that it really is time to go - even a little sad.

~ to be continued ~

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