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Photographer's Note

Zaventem just north of Brussels is best known for its airport. We visited it for another reason.

“Vlaamse Meesters in situ” is a project which runs this summer and guides art lovers to masterworks of Flemish painting which are not put in museum collections but can be seen “in situ”, i.e. they are still in their original location, often churches.

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ANTHONY VAN DYCK painted this masterly “Sint Maarten” in 1618. He was only 19 years at the time. As Rubens’ best student, he was on his way from his native Antwerp to go study in Italy.

In Zaventem, probably his first stop, he stayed with a local noble family and fell madly in love with their daughter. He painted this painting to honour Maarten Van Ophem, the girl’s father.

The painting depicts Sint Maarten who divides his cloak and gives half of it to a beggar. It’s a scene I know quite well because Sint Maarten (Martinus) was also the patron saint of the village where I spent my childhood.

The early Van Dyck masterwork hangs in the otherwise not so special parochial church of Zaventem. He later made a second version of this scene. That one hangs in Windsor Castle in England. But imho the Zaventem version is much better and I’m glad I finally got around to seeing it in situ.

ANTHONY VAN DYCK (1599-1641) is my favourite painter from Antwerp. I particularly admire his portraits and his amazing use of red and black.

A close view of the painting is included in the WS.

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Next time in Zaventem, we'll be at the airport again, though. See you later!

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song title reference: Daniel Johnston

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2770 W: 35 N: 5572] (29844)
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