Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady), Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) viewed from the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, Belgium

 

With construction having started in 1352 A.D., after 169 years of construction, the cathedral of Antwerp — Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (OLV, or Cathedral of Our Lady) – finally dominated the Antwerp skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 meters (400 feet). It is the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries. The Cathedral is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens. Following a 20-year restoration, the cathedral has been restored to its former architectural beauty.

 

The main nave of Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The main nave of Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Stained glass window in Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Stained glass window in Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Main altar with Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Main altar with Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

We were very impressed with the documentation for visitors besides each major piece of art.  There were brief discussions plus three ring binders with details about the art and the religious significance of each piece – in both Dutch and English.  This may have been the most well explained art treasury that we have visited in a church, synagogue or mosque!  It was very interesting to ponder the questions posed at the end of each notebook description – questions meant to get each viewer to consider the relevance of the artwork to his/her own life and actions.

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

A carved figure from the choir, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

A carved figure from the choir, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

A portion of the highly decorated ceiling in a chapel, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

A portion of the highly decorated ceiling in a chapel, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Raising of the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Raising of the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The circular painting in the dome, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The circular painting in the dome, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Close-up of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Close-up of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “the Descent from the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”), Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

The Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”), Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

The City of Antwerp, the diocese and the Cathedral of Our Lady are all dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  There are several magnificent representations of the Virgin Mary in the Cathedral.  Rubens’ “Assumption of the Virgin Mary” [see photographs, above] graces the altar at the front of the Cathedral.  There is also a painting by Cornelius Schut with the same theme, near the main altar.  There is a moving marble statue that is quite beautiful, the Maasland Madonna.  The devotional statue of the Madonna of Antwerp (“Our Lady”) [see the above photograph] is located in the Chapel of Our Lady where many Antwerp residents light a candle.

 

Carved figures from the pulpit, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Carved figures from the pulpit, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

Jan Fabre’s sculpture, “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, invites pilgrims and cathedral visitors to pause for reflection.  The bronze sculpture also encourages them to try and maintain a spiritual equilibrium, to keep the cross in balance, and to experience first-hand how this affects them.

 

Jan Fabre’s sculpture “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

Jan Fabre’s bronze sculpture “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, Belgium

 

2 thoughts on “Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady), Antwerp, Belgium

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s