Statues and Friezes, Brugge
Favorite thing: North and East of the center of Brugge on the way to the windmills, you might happen across two lovers in the middle of an argument. He is appealing to anyone who will listen, steadfast in his knowledge that he is correct. She is brooding, going over the argument again and again in her head wondering why he can’t see reason. Don’t come between them. Just smile and know that eventually they will make up.
Located next to the Church of Our Lady is this drinking well. I'm always amazed at how many of these wells you can find throughout many small cities in Europe.
Fondest memory: I didn't try any of the water, but I hear it's safe and clean to drink.
On our walk from Hotel Fevery to the center of Brugge, we saw this statue of Jan Van Eyck as we walked along the canal. He was not a native son of Brugge but he did live his last years in Brugge and died there in 1441.
One of his most famous works, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb can be found in Gent, another of the cities we visited on this trip. He is widely credited as having created oil painting which isn't exactly true but he did use oil as a medium for mixing paints instead of an egg based substance called tempera.
The symbol of Brugge is the swan. Not only will you see them everywhere in the canals, but you'll also encounter some in statues or friezes.
Fondest memory: The swan became the symbol of Brugge, when in 1488 Pieter Lanchals was executed by the government. Lanchals is Dutch for long neck. After his death the government found out that he was not guilty of the crime he was charged for. Therefor the government were punished themselves. They had to look after all the swans in Brugge until the end of time.
Legend tells us that a bear was the oldest citizen of Bruges. It started when in 862; Baldwin I, Count of Flanders kidnapped Judith, the daughter of the French king Charles the Bold.
Baldwin married Judith, but was not accepted by her father as his new son-in-law. To punish Baldwin, the king sent him off to one of his northern territories, the area now known as Flanders.
When Baldwin and his new bride arrived in the forests, the area where now Bruges is, he did not see one living soul. Suddenly, a bear came out of the woods. Baldwin killed the animal with his spear. According to the legend, the bear crept out of his skin and took his place in the town weapon of Bruges.
The bear later received a statue in the Porters Lodge.
Jan Van Eyck was a renomated painter. He was born somewhere in the beginning of the 1390ties, but the exact date is not known. He was a court painter at the court of Philip the Good of Burgundy and was entrusted by the Duke with various diplomatic missions.
Together with his brother Hubert (who was said to be his teacher but died in 1432, when they both were working at the Ghent altarpiece), Jan van Eyck exploited the qualities of oilpainting and found out how to let the oil dry faster.
This gave the opportunity to paint in different transparant layers, giving more depth and expression into the paintings. Building up these layers of transparent glazes provided him a surface on which he could capture objects in the minutest detail and allowed as well for the preservation of his colours.
He was said to be a founder of the Early Renaissance style in the Northern Renaissance.
Nowhere is this better displayed than in the portrait of Giovanni di Arrigo Arnolfini, who was a merchant from Lucca and frequently visited Bruges, and his wife Giovanna Cenami. The signature on the back wall - 'Jan Van Eyck was here, 1434' - and his reflection in the mirror might leave many to believe that Jan van Eyck was a witness to their marriage. The carving of Saint Margaret, the patron saint of childbirth, on the bed, and the presence of the dog - a traditional symbol of faithfulness - accentuate the marital theme."
Fondest memory: The Ghent Altar piece can be admired at the Saint Baafs cathedral in Ghent, the painting of The Arnolfini Marriage is exposed in the National Gallery, London, UK.
The half moon has been the symbol of the beer brewing in Bruges.
Bruges has had hundreds of official breweries and a numberous home breweries during its history. Only a few remained.
This half moon, hanging at the entrance of the square of the Gruuthuuse Museum is a reminder of that period.
It is not coincidential that it is hanging there: Gruuthuuse, the word comes from gruut, a ingredient that was used for beer brewing before the hop became fashionable.
The family who had monopoly over the commerce and handling of Gruut built the big house Gruuthuuse, now museum.
Fondest memory: Still a few breweries left!
Let's keep them!
This nice statue of two people in love, kissing, is located on the square at the opposite of the Brug, in front of the city hall.
Unfortunately, because of Bruges being cultural city, they have put some uggly carwash in between, thus blocking the very nice view on city hall or statue, depending where you looking from.
Because the carwash is made by some Japanese it is called art and because there is some nice blah blah blah artistic explanation about it that it is about "mouvement", they call this art. It is the idea, not the shape that is important... and maybe also the money involved?
Anyway, I still wish (with so many other people) that this carwash would move very soon out of sight. I hope some one of the authorities reads this and turn red.
It really has become a public joke...
Fondest memory: Back to the real statue, the one of the kissing couple. If you come close you will read the word "Love" in all different languages.
I was there with Libanese, with Srilankees, with a lot of different nationalities and all found, after a small search, their language.
So give it a try next time you are around...
If you see an uggly carwash, this statue is just behind it.
Belgium,Bruges,Statue of Saint John Nepomuk, a czeck priest (Prague) who was killed and thrown into the river because he refused to reveil a confession to a jealous husband who suspected his wife cheating on him. He is the saint of the confession and the saint of the sailors (because one of the obliged 3 miracles was that his body kept floating on the water) His bones were recently (1996) rediscovered in a shrine in the Saint Carolus Boromelus Church in Antwerp. The relict, probably some where in history brought to that church by Czech Jesuits, was locked up in a secret place, behind a wooden facade that only could be opened with a key...after you could find the secret hidden lock to put the key in!
Fondest memory: I was really curious about why this statue was in Bruges. I could understand its location: at a bridge, but why Bruges?
I learned that in the 19th century John Nepomuk was a bit of a "fashion" saint.
So Bruges wanted its statue too!
Statue is on the bridge of the Dyver and the Wolstraat.
't Zand is a square where you will find a pretty nice statue and a very huge new building, the city theatre.
There has been a lot of comotion about it because most people think it is an ugly building and is totally misplaced in an old Medieval city as Brugge.
I heard the explanation from the architect that it does communicate with the surrounding old city and this by means of the red cover it has. That last one caused already twice the belated finishing of the building.
No matter what the architect might explain... I can only agree with most of the people I heard: IT IS AN UGGLY BUILDING AND TOTALLY MISPLACED, NO MATTER WHAT THEORY TRIES TO JUSTIFY!
Underneat the square is a huge parking lot. It is not really cheap but the longer you stay the cheaper/hour it gets.
This picture was taken the 18th of January 2003. It shows Eve on her b-day and her boyfriend Wim.
Fondest memory: Every Saturday, from 8 am till 1 pm, there is a market on the square.elke
Favorite thing: Amongst the old buildings of Brugge are loads of arty type things such as these sculptures. Not sure what they resemble as I am not an art expert but they were interesting anyway.
Favorite thing: One of Brugge's many small parks. There was also 4 bronze statues of the four horsemen of apocalypse in this park.