Our Lady's Church and famed Madonna

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by michaelhudson on July 11, 2004

The 122m high brick tower that tops the Church of Our Lady (Onze Lieve Vrouwkerk) is the second highest in the entire country, once serving as an inland lighthouse for ships sailing into the city. Dark and medieval, it’s a mish-mash of styles ranging from Romanesque to French Gothic, all squashed below the massive central tower, which was unfortunately lost behind clouds of scaffolding at the time of my visit.

It’s the interior of the church that really attracts the crowds, though. In a small chapel on the right hand side of the church Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Madonna and Child--originally sculped for Siena Cathedral and the only one of his works to leave Italy during his lifetime--is a wonder in white marble, the innocent child poised at the feet of his seemingly troubled mother, shoulders twisting one way and eyes another, peering down through a screen of bullet proof glass set between six circular columns that arc towards two statues that flank an oversized altar. Nearby are the intricately carved 16th century tombs of Charles the Bold and his daughter Mary of Burgundy, whose bronze hand reaches imploringly towards the heavens while her feet push out towards her copper gilt pet dogs. Also look out for van Dyck's evocative 'Christ on the Cross' painting and a funerary chapel adorned with frescoed tombs in maroon and black.

Entrance to the church, which is open daily with the exception of Mondays, is two Euros fifty.

Church of our Lady
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerkhof Zuid
Bruges, Belgium


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