Photographer's Note

Headline news this morning of 30 August 2009 in Belgium was that a fire broke out in St. Carolus Borromeus church, one of the most beloved churches of Antwerp.
Since the, the assessment is that there is no structural damage, that the artworks have been saved and that the church can be fully restored. The cause of the fire seems to be overheating of electrical circuits during a concert given in the church the evening before.

A few weeks ago I visited the church and made this interior view, composed of a stitch of six photo's to obtain a wide view while maintaining a natural perspective.

This typical baroque church was built by the Jesuits between 1615 and 1621 to a design drawn up by their rector Francois Aguillon and Brother Peter Huyssens. Rubens played an important part in the decoration of the facade and the pinnacle of the tower but especially of the interior. However, thirty-nine ceiling paintings, the work of his studio, were lost in a fire in 1718. Most of the original marble was also destroyed.

But the apse of the main altar and the Mary Chapel were spared and still convey an impression of the churchs former splendor which in the light of the Counter-Reformation was expressly intended to revive the faith of believers, but especially of backsliders.

The present interior was created under the direction of Jan Peter van Baurscheit the Elder who also built the pulpit and the splendid casing for the Forceville organ. There are also sculptures and wood carvings by Michiel van der Voort, Andries de Nole and others.

A single painting hangs above the altar but it is not always the same one. An original mechanism which is still in working order makes it possible to change the paintings. An impressive spectacle.

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Additional Photos by Paul Bulteel (pauloog) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 77 N: 1882] (11751)
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