Research Paper: Beguinage Church in Brussels Belgium

Pages: 5 (1271 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Architecture  ·  Buy This Paper

Beguinage Church in Brussels, Belgium (Eglise du Beguinage) 1676 ("Brussels" Europe-cities) or possibly 1656 as is noted by Gilliant-Smith in the Story of Brussels (235) to replace a much more demure church built in the 13th-14th century for the Beguinage, is attributed to the Flemish Baroque sculptor and architect Luc Faydherbe (1617-1697), who was a student of Rubens and therefore had significant Italian influences. ("Luc Faydherbe" Larrousse Encyclopedia) Though I have not seen the work in person the depictions of the work represent to some degree how moving the work is and why it has continued throughout the centuries to draw both the faithful and the non-faithful tourist to its doors. The work is a striking and thought provoking example of the Baroque architectural tradition and its exterior is visible for miles in its grand representation.

The greatest attraction of the Beguinage Church of St. John the Baptist is its amazingly elaborate facade, widely regarded as being one of the most beautiful in the country. It is spread over three gables of varying heights and flanked by an octagonal tower. The church has a simple Latin cross design, typical of Gothic architecture, while the onion-shaped steeples are characteristic of Flemish Baroque style popular in the 17th Century. ("Brussels" Europe-cities)

The work is a blend of styles, and has historical underpinnings of a church built specifically for the largest Beguinage in the world. The Beguinage is a monastic tradition for women, both nuns and unmarried laywomen that lived around the church and in a monastery that is no longer on the site. During the period when the church was built the Beguinage is said to have had 1250 members, clearly a community that could be served by and support such a large and grand church as its center of worship and community. ("Brussels" Europe-cities) the two styles noted within the above citation are Latin in the form of the church shape and Flemish Baroque, which was the overriding architectural and artistic style of the 17th century period. There is a clear demonstration of movement toward heaven, such as is seen in many period churches as well as other buildings of state. The facade is elaborate and demonstrates the combination of building materials, stones of various colors with the darker being found nearer the ground (supporting the weight and the structure of the church and the facade) while the upper tiers of the building are lighter stone that plays off the striking ornamentation carved within it. The striking red metal doors of the church are also highly decorated and ornamental and contrast with the lighter colored stones used to build the church.

It is also noted that the square where the church is centered is very serene and centralized to several streets, at one time there were many other buildings supporting the Beguinage as well as gardens and homes for the sisters, yet Gilliant-Smith notes that during the French revolution the Beguinage was suppressed a great deal and lost a good deal of land and support structures. (235) There is also a clear sense that the grand exterior is in contrast to the rather serene and relatively simple interior, which according to those who have visited is relatively plain, notwithstanding the visible architectural detail and some supportive artworks, including many famous religious themes paintings, a 18th century pulpit, uncharacteristically elaborate confessionals which have wood carvings of Mary and Jesus, allegorical figures and angles and finally the striking tombstone floor. ("Brussels" Europe-cities) There are few depictions of the interior of the church though it is well described by several sources as a place of peace and light that creates a sense of calm in a clear picture of grandeur. ("Brussels" Europe-cities) (Gilliant-Smith 234-236) See interior view photograph below.

The exterior of the building must remain the center of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Beguinage Church in Brussels Belgium.  (2011, May 3).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/beguinage-church-brussels-belgium/11897

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"Beguinage Church in Brussels Belgium."  Essaytown.com.  May 3, 2011.  Accessed May 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/beguinage-church-brussels-belgium/11897.