Tuesday, August 11, 2009

belgian pulpits

O lazy August! When I should be preparing for my fall classes, or comparing microfilms of manuscripts for my research job, or even blogging out my bile towards the politics of the day, I find myself drooping in the heat and hearing the sweet siren call of the sofa, cat & nap. Yet there are things that I have yet to confess to blogdom - such as the fact that I had a surprise trip to Belgium two weeks ago. The reason why I shall leave to another day: I will just say that it involved a cat, a crisis, and a happy resolution. I took a number of photos when I was there, but today I want to share just one category -- beautiful wood and marble Baroque pulpits that seem to have been installed in every church that was around in the seventeenth century. I have no idea why there was a fancy-pulpit-carving craze in the Low Countries in this period, but I suspect it has something to do with preaching, the Counter-reformation and the fact that Belgium was right on the frontier between Protestant and Catholic Europe. Anyway, beautiful stuff and here are my photos.


crystal said...

Wow! Who is the statue of at the top? I did visit Belgium on that one trip but didn't see any churches.

Liam said...

I think the first sculpture is Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.

crystal said...

After I saw your post I looked around for pulpit pictures and saw a very rococo one at Wies Church - maybe I'll post it. It looks like it's made of cake :)

victor said...

I can now see where crystal gets some of her wonderful post ideas!

I hear ya! "IT" is also vise versa Victor.

Hey I finally made "IT" back! :)

Jeff said...

Nice photos, Liam.

Our parish here in New England is very Yankee in its style on the outside, with white clapboard, etc... I saw a picture of the inside from about 90 years ago, though, with a canopied altar supported by marble angels. Pretty cool. It was long gone before I ever saw the church on the 1960s. It's kind of sad to think of all of that hard work and decent art paid for out of the pockets of poor immigrants being dismantled.

crystal said...

Liam, I just came across Columbia's digital scriptorium site - neat place.

cowboyangel said...

Very... Baroque. Good photos.

Liam said...

Victor --

Thanks, and thanks for coming by.

Jeff --

The church by my sister's place in Brussels is a beautiful Baroque church, but somewhat sad on the inside. It was obviously revamped and badly for the liturgical reforms. It too has an immense and gorgeous pulpit, pushed embarrassedly into the corner.

Crystal --

Digital Scriptorium is AWESOME. They have a document of Urraca's that's at Columbia and that I have worked with.

William --

Thanks. Sometimes you just have to go for Baroque.