While you're in Bruges, do look up 't Brugs Beertje ( The Bear of Bruges). He's the oldest and most prominent resident around town and there's a great beer joint over there with the same name. ( You didn't think I walked all the way there to see a bear in a clown suit, did you?? ) Well, before drinking the beer , you might want to know that there's a juicy folklore attached to him!
According to the tale, the Count of Flanders kidnapped a French Princess from a Monastery in 862. After marrying the princess, the Count sought acceptance from the King of France only to be banished to the area now known as Flanders.Upon arrival in the land that now hosts the city of Bruges, the Count was unable to find a living soul except for a ferocious bear who tried to have him for lunch. The Count killed the bear with his spear, however, if local legend is to be believed, the bear resurrected itself from its own skin and took his place in the town of Bruges.
He's still there today and you can find him from a niche in the façade of Porter's Lodge, dressed in a costume !
Address:Burghers' Lodge, Academiestraat 14
They're everywhere, all over the city. They perpetually gaze upon the herds of tourists that make their way through Brugge's streets and alleys.
Statues, Carvings, Gargoyles, what have you.
If you look up, you're bound to see one. And they're not just on landmarks - like in this picture, on some "ordinary" looking street corner, a true piece of art like this St. Joseph statue, greets you - if only you take the time to look up, every now and then.
Brugge was the cultural capital of Belgium a few years ago. There were all kinds of plays, concerts and exhibitions all over the city. Most of the sculptures that were installed for the year have been taken down. This one on Burg Square, however, still remains. It's created by a Japanese designer. You can walk underneath it if you want.
This statue at the Burg Square shows us a young couple entangled in a kiss. On the bottom of the statue, where the pair are standing on the word 'love' is inscribed several times. It's written not just in English but also in a lot of other languages like French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.
Jan van Eijck is a famous painter of the school of the flemish painters.
He was a court painter for Philip of Burgundy.
Jan van eijck is credited for improving the qualitie of oilpaintings by developping a method to let the oil dry faster.
He was an active painter from 1422-1441.
His statue can be found at the Jan van Eijckplein, where the water of the Reie along the Spiegelrei and the Spinolarei ends.
Van Eyck, as I mentioned earlier, was the greatest Flemish Renaissance artist ever. In 1432-33, this chap bought a house over here in Bruges and was a court painter as well as a diplomat. According to documents , Van Eyck died elsewhere but nonetheless, a statue was erected in memory of this famous resident. It stands on a square today that bears his name.
Go to Jan van Eyckplein 2 ( Jan van Eyck Square )
Contrary to everyone's belief, the most famous resident of Bruges is not the stone bear but a famous painter by the name of Jan Van Eyck . Well even if his Flemish name doesn't ring a bell, his famous painting would do it.
Look at the wedding picture, surely you've seen it before and wonder whether the bride was pregnant?
Even if you still do not know he is, Van Eyck was a great Renaissance artist who lived in the 15th century . So outstanding was his skill as an oil painter that the invention of the medium was at one time attributed to him. Yup, that chap really know how to work the medium, he would build up layers of transparent glazes giving him a surface on which to capture objects in the minutest detail You can see his beautiful paintings (not this one though ) in the Groening Musuem today. The details will blow your breath away.
There is an absolutely breathtaking marble statue of Mary with Child, in one of the Catholic churches in Brugge. Funny story (what is a Michelangelo doing in Belgium?)...
Apparently the pope of the age commissioned a Madonna and child sculpture, but stipulated that there be 'No Nudity' shown. In the final sculpture, Mary is appropriately covered up, but the baby is naked in his swaddling cloth. The pope refused the sculpture! A Belgian visiting Italy at the time got wind of this, contacted Michelangelo, and bought the statue from him, shipping it to Brugge.
During the rule of Napoleon, the French troops took the town, and brought the statue with them back to Paris. Later, though, during peacetime, Brugge had Mary returned to them, and she's been there ever since.
Located in Our Lady's Church, in Brugge. I believe admission into the church is free.
Don't forget to look at the many mural chapels. They all look so different and special.
In the Philipstokstraat you'll find a nice wich contains the statue of Bacchus the god of beer and wine.
At the picture you see a strange but pictoresque mural chapel at the corner of Korte Speelmanstraat and the Carmerstraat in the St Anna quarter, locals call it 'Anna van 't Pitje'.
These four broze statues represent the riders of the Apocalypse. You'll find them in a small park in the city center, but I can't remember where exactly.
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