Sunday, July 31, 2011
The Church of Our Lady - Bruges
The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium, dates mainly from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.
Its tower, at 122.3 meters in height, remains the tallest structure in the city and the second tallest brickwork tower in the world (the tallest being the St. Martin's Church in Landshut, Germany).
In the choir space behind the high altar are the tombs of Charles the Bold, last Valois Duke of Burgundy, and his daughter, the duchess Mary. The gilded bronze effigies of both father and daughter repose at full length on polished slabs of black stone. Both are crowned, and Charles is represented in full armor and wearing the decoration of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
The altarpiece of the large chapel in the southern aisle enshrines the most celebrated art treasure of the church—a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child created by Michelangelo around 1504. Probably meant originally for the Siena Cathedral, it was purchased in Italy by two Brugean merchants, the brothers Jan and Alexander Mouscron, and in 1514 donated to its present home. The sculpture was twice recovered after being looted by foreign occupiers—French revolutionaries circa 1794 and Nazi Germans in 1944.