Hello again! Still catching up on all my adventurous posts!!
After Sophia and I conferenced real hard in Bruges, we headed out to explore the rest of Belgium for a few days! On Sunday, August 21 we caught an afternoon train to Antwerp. We stayed in a super Airbnb there in an up-and-coming neighborhood, so we stayed around the flat for dinner that evening and went to bed pretty early.
Monday morning, we met Sophia’s friend from UCSB (who now lives in Antwerp) for breakfast. It was neat to talk to someone who had done research travel during her PhD and then decided to stay abroad! She showed us to the Antwerp Cathedral, and we gawked at the gaudy Rubens paintings throughout. Lots of dramatic and theatric Baroque—totally over the top!
Around lunchtime, we caught a quick train to nearby Ghent to
see the cathedral and famous Ghent Altarpiece.
The outside of the cathedral was under quick a bit of scaffolding so it
wasn’t much to look at, but the real treasures of Ghent lie within!!
We made a bee-line for the altarpiece, which is now on
display in a small climate- and crowd-controlled room near the entrance of the
cathedral. The altarpiece is behind
glass, but you are still able to get quite close to admire all of the sumptuous
detail (check out this website that allows you to zoom to see the details). Of course this is the Holy Grail
of the movie The Monuments Men, and is one of the most famous paintings of the
so-called “Northern Renaissance.” In my
opinion, it has certainly earned the right to be considered such! Sophia and I absorbed it for a long while,
whispering back and forth about certain details and just staring in silence
too. Truly remarkable. (Unfortunately, no photography whatsoever is allowed.)
|City of Ghent|
|Lieutenant Daniel J. Kern and Karl Sieber examining a panel of the Ghent Altarpiece, 1945. |
(Thomas Carr Howe papers, Archives of American Art)
|In this still from the 2014 movie The Monuments Men, George Clooney lectures in front of a slide of the Ghent Altarpiece.|
|Photograph (from the web) of the Ghent Altarpiece with wings closed|
|Photograph (from the web) of Ghent Altarpiece with wings opened|
We spent the afternoon in Ghent, took the train back to Antwerp, had some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had at a very sketchy-looking restaurant, and returned to our Airbnb for the night. In the morning (Tuesday) we had a few hours before our next train, so we split up to make the most of our time. Sophia visited the Rubens House and I went to the Museum Mayer van den Bergh. The Van den Bergh is a small(ish) house museum with a SUPER medieval collection! One sculpture in particular stands out—the sculpture of Christ and St. John is extremely well-known and I appreciated seeing it in person. So much bigger than I imagined!
|Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp|
|Christ and Saint John, Master Heinrich von Konstanz, ca. 1280-1290|
|Sophia in the larger-than-life Rubens Room!|
|Hieronymus Bosch, Temptation of St. Anthony, 1501|
|Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1562|
|Travel Partner Extraordinaire, Sophia!|
Next time on Frau Bevin’s Adventures: long-time friend Melody joins in the fun in a whirlwind roadtrip across Germany, with stopovers in Austria, Switzerland, and France!