Let me start off my apologizing for having two cathedral posts in a row. I know not everything is obsessed about them as I am, but there was supposed to be a blog about the Antwerp Central Station in there, but Alex hasn’t gotten around to writing it yet because he’s off somewhere in the concrete jungles of South America.
So here we are. The Cathedral of Our Lady is a Catholic church in central Antwerp, and although construction began in 1352, it’s never officially been “completed.” Unlike the basilica in Brussels, this one IS the very traditional gothic stone and marble construction that one would expect. It’s a bit hard to see while you’re wandering around Antwerp though, because it’s smack-dab in the center of town. You can never really get far enough away from the church to get a good view OF the church! The pic below kind of shows this, and also how the surrounding buildings cling right up against the walls of the church. I think that’s a pub! It seems to be the opposite problem from the Basilica – that was too separated, while this is too crowded! Maybe I’m just being a Goldilocks today.
It’s church is unique because it only has one spire, whereas it seems more common to have either two spires, or one tower, but this is a bit oddly shaped. The other predominant feature of the Antwerp Cathedral is the white space. The ceiling is white, the stone has been white-washed, and it has a very pure (and pious) feeling to it. This constrasts with the very dark wood that was used in the choir stalls and for the giant hanging crucifix, which dangles in mid-air. (I’m probably going to hell, because my first though was “wow, it’d be cool to see that start to sway in an earthquake!”)
The spire is the highest in all of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg (which probably sounds more impressive than it is), and it has frequently been compared to lace because of the delicate stonework. Looking up into the spire, there is a beautiful painting at the top. This is the first time I’ve seen a work of art at the top – normally it’s just a decorated ceiling with geometric patterns. I quite liked this treatment, even though it’s so far away you can hardly see the subject of the painting (I am assuming, contextually, that it might be God?)