Results 1-10of 12 Reviews
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
May 13, 2013
From journal cultural and political center of Europe
August 3, 2011
From journal Caution - Belgium Will Sneak-up On You - Ghent II
by Sammy Lagios
Kineta, Attica, Greece
August 30, 2010
Carshalton, United Kingdom
March 28, 2007
From journal Glorious Ghent
April 9, 2004
The crypt is the largest one in Flanders. It contains some low vaults and other Romanesque elements of its predecessor, the Sint-Jean Church from about 1150 AD. The original outline is marked in a black outline on the floor. Observe some tombstones and fascinating old documents from the Middle Ages.
There is a separate gallery and admission fee to see the prized possession of the cathedral, the altarpiece polyptych called “Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Jan Van Eyck (he may or may not have been assisted by his older brother Hubert). This painting is certainly admired nowadays, but it was perhaps even more famous in its own day as a major technical and aesthetic achievement. People were known to make pilgrimages to be dazzled by this religious masterpiece since its placement in 1432. The theme is from the Apocalypse according to St. John the Baptist. The numerous panels depict about 250 distinct figures, over 40 species of plants and flowers, plus the Mystic Lamb on an altar. The brilliantly illustrated scene features realistically depicted forms and fabrics, which were enhanced by glittering precious stones.
The masterpiece was moved out of its smaller chapel into the larger baptistery space, which was converted to ensure its safekeeping. Over its history the altarpiece has been well traveled due to theft and politically motivated transfers. Unfortunately the “Righteous Judges” panel on the lower front left was stolen in 1934 and has been replaced by a copy. The crowds can be quite staggering in the viewing room, so be prepared. You may get a little space by admiring the Annunciation scenes on the “backs” of the wings. Once you exit the viewing room, look for the “alternate” Adam and Eve panels (dressed a bit like Tarzan and Jane) temporarily placed over the original ones after Austrian Emperor Joseph II objected to the original’s nudity in 1794.
“The Conversion of St. Bavo” by Rubens (1623) has a prominent location in the cathedral’s transept. Its setting seems even more dramatic while looking at it when climbing the stairs out of the crypt. Amongst other noteworthy artworks and interior elements are the massive organ (1653) and the luxurious Rococo style pulpit designed by Laurent Delvaux in 1741 with marble and oak.
As a special bonus, many masterpieces of the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Museum of Fine Arts) are on display throughout the crypt and ambulatory, as the museum is undergoing a lengthy renovation. This is a unique opportunity to admire works by Bosch, Rubens, Jordaens and many others in the environment of the cathedral.
From journal Bill in Belgium - GHENT
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 26, 2003
At the site of the present cathedral a wooden church founded in 942 and dedicated to Saint John stood. In 1038 a church in Romanesque style replaced the early building. Part of which still exists in the early medieval crypt under the present gothic choir. The Romanesque church had become too small and run-down by the end of the 13th century. Ghent had become one of the most important and well-known cities north of the Alps due in part to the Flemish cloth trade. It needed a church that reflected the status of wealth and importance.
On June 7th 1569 the finished building, named after St Bavo a 7th century local nobleman who became a saint after he had given away his possessions to the poor and entered the monastery stood supreme -- a beautiful gothic construction. In 1561 creating the diocese of Ghent changed the status of the church to that of cathedral (seat of the bishop of Gent). On entering a forest of stone bathed in light led my eye onwards and upwards to the rib vaulting. Formed with bricks it stands 33-meters high.
The intricate carving of the baroque oak and marble pulpit (sculpted in 1745 by Laurent Delvaux), sweeps the eye up to where the preacher stood. Above his head grew a marble tree of knowledge complete with gilded serpent and fruit.
The 1624 painting of 'The Conversion of Saint Bavo', painted by Rubens hangs in the far left side of the chancel is full of drama as was his style. It also contains his self-portrait in a red-cloaked convert. The crypt under the choir also harbours an extensive collection of paintings and church utensils belonging to the church treasures. Among these is the striking ‘Calvary Tryptych’ of Justus van Gent painted in 1466 – following Van Eyck in its precise attention to detail. Behind the transept on the right –hand side is Frans Pourbus the Elder’s 1571 painting ‘Christ Among the Doctors’. It shows a youthful Jesus surprising the elders of the temple with his knowledge and wisdom. Craftily portrayed among the crowd are contemporary luminaries.
Nothing, however, matches the beauty of the most important work of art in Belgium that displayed in a side chapel to the left of the main entrance. Variously known as the ‘Ghent Altarpiece’ or ‘The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’, a polypthic panel painted by Jan and Hubert Van Eyck in 1432 for the chapel of Joost Vijd with God the father wise and beneficent looking kindly upon all. The altarpiece becomes increasingly detailed the more you look at it.
St Bavo Cathedral is not only a work of art in its own right but it is also a treasure house of art.
From journal Ghent – showcase of Flemish Wealth & Architecture
by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
November 19, 2002
St. Bavo’s Cathedral has been entrusted with many treasures including the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and a painting by Pieter Paul Rubens. Mass services are no longer held in the main church but in the underground chamber just beyond the ancient crypts. These areas are not open for sightseeing. The Cathedral was named for a beloved saint from Ghent, St. Bavo, who lived in the 7th Century.
There is a small fee (under 3 Euro) to view the original Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and it would be a shame to visit Ghent and NOT see it. But, before you do, I highly recommend that you spend a few minutes learning a little more about it. A replica has been created and is located on the right side of the main church. You can photograph the copy of the Altarpiece, something not allowed for the real thing.
The Altarpiece has a total of 12 panels, a main section and two side sections, which can be folded over the main section. When open, the painting extends to the backside and you are able to walk all around it. The total dimensions of the painting are 12 feet by 27 feet. This was one of the first known oil paintings, encompassing 280 figures, including the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Adam and Eve, angles, musicians, and prophets and in the lower center, the Lamb of God (Christ sacrificed for the World).
Joost Vijd, a wealthy and influential cloth merchant and his wife, Isabella, of Ghent, commissioned the Altarpiece in 1420. The Altarpiece decorated their private chapel. In those days, the side panels were opened only on Sundays and religious holidays for the public to view. On most weekdays it was closed. Now, all panels can be admired every day of the week at St. Bavo.
As you look at the Altarpiece in the closed position, you will see a man on the lower left and a woman on the lower right. Theses are portraits of Joost Vijd and his wife who had commissioned the painting. The story behind the painting of this masterpiece and its journey through history is fascinating. Each part or scene on the painting represents a distinct element of the way of life of the region.
If you are not able to join a tour and hear the explanation of the painting, the price of the viewing the original also includes a recorded explanation in several languages on a handset. This will take you about 45 minutes to view. However, for those interested, there in no time limit other than operating hours.
Another of the St. Bavo treasures is a painting by Pieter Paul Rubens entitled St. Bavo's Entry into the Monastery. Rubens, who died in 1640, is said to be the most influential baroque painter of the early 17th century.
Also worth a look is the 1741 pulpit and a 1653 organ, said to be the largest in Belgium.
From journal Ghent-Somewhere between Heaven & Earth
December 20, 2001
Visit also "The Crypte"-it wittnesses the basic history of the Church and shows a lot of donations given by Monasteries. The details of a "Rubens" painting is also very interesting. But please ask the local guide about this. He will explain this mystery with pleasure. Anyhow: ST. Bavo remains mysterious due to the stolen painting of a part of the triptiek "Adoration.."It was never retrieved..untill today.
From journal "Living in Belgium"
March 22, 2001
There is also a painting by Rubens in the cathedral: "The entry of Saint Bavo into the monastery."
From journal A day with a monk in Ghent