Woodcut from the Nanceidos, a 16th century book about the battle of Nancy. Found it online somewhere.

Just an update on the Bold this time. For the pretty/funny  pictures I refer to the Chicken site. Link on the right. [I wasn’t really planning on publishing this post today but I hit the wrong button apparently, so here goes… I am still updating this, though]. This is a work in progress.

First a follow-up on the two movies Le miracle des loups.

It seems there is a fictional novel by Walter Scott, Quentin Durward, in which the Bold plays a role.  Somebody uploaded a 7-part tv series with the same name on YouTube. I try to watch it every now. It’s in French but they speak fairly slowly. Also, major disappointment, the tv series The Bold and the Beautiful has nothing to do with Charles the Bold.

Reading pile

The latest addition to the Burgundian reading pile is consists of a many-hand bio of Louis XI –  his arch enemy -, a book in good condition about the history of Bruges and a worn book about the history of Burgundy. The French region, not the wine. I draw the line there.  I haven’t had time to read them as I am trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo in the evenings.

Tracking the remains

The past couple days I have been trying to track the remains of the Bold. Oddly enough, none of the books I have read so far seem to have the complete information so I am reconstructing it from various sources, mostly Wikipedia and other online sources to start with. I’ll correct them as I go along. I will add this to the relevant page. It’s one of main objectives of the quest so I want to devote enough time to this.

In the winter of 1476-77 – being the stupid and reckless little shithead he was – the Bold kept attacking the French and the Swiss. On the 5th of January 1477, majorly overpowered, he was killed in the battle of Nancy by a half deaf, half blind soldier who didn’t recognise him. According to the code of war kings and leaders were usually not killed but captured for ransom money. So he had a bit of bad luck or met his well deserved fate, depending on your point of view.

Charles fell from his horse, shouted who he was but the soldier misunderstood him and split his head in two. C was basically reduced to mincemeat because when he was found he had multiple wounds apart from his split skull. I read somewhere that the soldier who didn’t recognise him died a few months later because of remorse, but that’s just a legend, I suppose.

A couple days after the chaotic battle C still hadn’t turned up in his camp so they went looking for him. The soldier who had last seen him alive led a search party to the borders of a lake near Nancy. They finally found him a little apart from the other dead bodies. The bold’s body was lying face down at the edge of the lake, his face frozen to the ground. He was stripped of all his clothes and belongings and was identified by a number of characteristics, including his missing front teeth, several old scars including the one on his throat from the battle of Montléry, a wound in the groin, ingrown toe nail and his long nails.  He was said to have been partially eaten by wolves but that’s probably also a legend.

He was brought to a house in Nancy. They dressed him in a white satin shirt and a red satin coat (other source says they put a red velvet cloth over his face and put him on a black bed of state. On both sides were two seats for heralds and in the four corners seats for servants holding burning torches. The body remained there for six days. Even if he had been a bitch to many people including his own half-brothers, there were enough tears apparently

he next Sunday he was buried in a fir coffin in the St Sebastian chapel of St George church at Nancy (the church is no longer there).

His wife and daughter only learned after a month or so that he was dead, by the way.

He was exhumed on 22 September 1550 (I also saw 24 somewhere) by Christina of Denmark by request of Charles V, his great grandson.  The remains were brought from Nancy to Luxemburg where they stayed at the convent of the Minderbroeders. In 1553 the remains were brought to Bruges.

On the 7th June of 1553 they were placed in the vault of his daughter.

In 1563 he got his own tomb next to Mary’s.

During the French Revolution the tombs were damaged and plundered. His remains were probably lost (I presume it was a skeleton by then).

In 1806 both tombs were reconstructed somewhere else in the church.

In 1979 the floor of the church was dug up and the tombs were removed and reconstructed in the original place. Mary’s skeleton was found and identified but that of Charles was not there.

There are two additional elements that I found in other places:

Firstly, usually in those times the intestines are removed and placed in little boxes or other more fancy containers to keep at home (this is something that has always fascinated me). I read in a book that Charles’ intestines remained at Nancy. Doesn’t say where and how, so must check this.

Secondly, I read somewhere but I can’t remember where, that the remains that were taken to Bruges weren’t those of Charles to begin with as that body still had all its front teeth. Apparently when they opened the coffin in Nancy, the remains were in ad condition and just a big mess. They could be from his chamberlain, Jean de Rubempré, who also died at Nancy. Must check this but it’s late and I’ve got other work to do.

Maybe he is a DNR (Do Not Resurrect).

Oh my, those ER Hughes paintings are still haunting me…




Hier zijn nog enkele foto’s van details van schilderijen uit het Old Masters Museum in Brussel (zie post van gisteren).

Grappige baby:

Dit om te bewijzen dat niet iedereen even goed portretten kon schilderen:

Details van een achtergrond:


Aan de voeten van Lazarus:

Ook wel wat gruwelijkheden:

Mooie portretstudies van Rubens:

Paracelsus (nudge nudge):

Wie we daar hebben: Filips de Schone met een gigantisch schaap om zijn nek en Johanna de Waanzinnige:

Mooi geschilderde lendendoek van Christus

Gabriël in een van de betere Annunciaties, deze is van de Lairesse:



The Holy Blood (minus the Holy Grail)

To cut a long story short: last week we went to Bruges on a day trip. We tagged along with relatives who had some business there so we had no specific plan and not that much time.  We just stuck our heads into some churches, had coffee, had lunch and wandered around and tried not to be overrun by horse carriages. The streets and canals were very crowded as usual,  I don’t think it’s ever quiet there.

I am not going to bore you with too many pictures of the city itself. The internet is full of them.

 Old grave in one of the churches, with a picture of an angel swinging a censer. The angel is related to Grumpy cat. 

There was just one small but important item on my grail quest/relic hunter/conspiracy theory bucket list: the Holy Blood relic.

Legend has it that at the time of the crucifixion Joseph of Arimathea wiped Jesus’ bloody brow with his handkerchief and several hundred years later a crusader brought a piece of that bloody cloth to Bruges.  It’s kept in the Holy Blood chapel but it is not always on display. Last time I was in Bruges, the basilica was closed, and the time before that it was open but there was no blood to be seen .  By now, I was dying to release my inner Robert Langdon (ha ha).

The entrance to the basilica is in a building in a corner of the Burg square, not far from the big market square and it looks like a town hall or a justice court rather than the entrance of a church, which is a bit confusing.

There weren’t too many people around so no queue to go in. You go up some circular stairs and end up in the upper chapel.

The basilica interior is very colourful. The building is mostly very old but the somewhat kitschy decorations are relatively new.

Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures in the right chapel where the blood is on display at certain times of the day so I’ll have to describe how it went from there.

There is a small dais, with a display case like they have in jewellery stores. Behind the case there is a supervising  priest in white and grass green robes. You queue up (just a few people in our case) and wait your turn to go up the stairs to the display case with the blood (you can make a semi-voluntary donation right before) and then you can get a very close look at the phial in which the relic (or a Chinese copy from AliExpress – faith is everything) is stored.

Basically it’s just a piece of cloth with some red stains on it in a crystal and gold tube. I did not spot any boogers of Joseph of Arimathea on the cloth, so maybe it wasn’t his handkerchief after all.

Image borrowed from Wikipedia:

After you’re done the priest hands you a little folder and then off you go.

Woaw, this was entertaining, a perfect mix of folklore, tourist trap, old-school Catholic fraud, cheesy Dan Brown movie material and genuine mysticism. Highly recommended.

Afterwards we visited the lower chapel on the ground floor. It is much smaller and simpler and better than the gaudy stuff upstairs, imho.

We made a detour to the station via the Jerusalem church. According to Google it is “an eccentric copy of the Holy Sepulchre” but there was not enough time for a visit.

And now it’s zombie time…



Het is zomer. Iedereen is met vakantie. Dat geeft de regering weer de kans om er heel wat niet allemaal even zinnige maatregelen door te draaien zonder dat er al te veel protest komt.  Ik ga hier niet over politiek beginnen drammen maar ik wil wel graag een voorbeeldje geven van waarom je genoeg wantrouwen moet hebben tegen Het Systeem en de doorgedreven automatisering.

Een tijdje geleden stak er een papier in onze bus dat een van onze identiteitskaarten moest vernieuwd worden. De aanvraag moest binnen de twee weken op het gemeentehuis gebeuren. Vernieuwen van de identiteitskaart moet om de vijf à tien jaar dus niet zo vreemd. Alleen bleek de identiteitskaart in kwestie nog minstens een jaar geldig. Snel naar het gemeentehuis om meer uitleg.

Ticketje nemen en in de rij gaan staan. Na lang wachten is het mijn beurt. Ik geef het papier af en vraag een verklaring. Blijkt dat de identiteitskaart geannuleerd is. Een paar maanden daarvoor al. Heel vreemd allemaal. Ik vraag hoe dat komt. De dame van het loket tuurt op haar scherm. “Dat staat hier zo in het Systeem. De kaart is als verloren opgegeven bij de politie.” Hé? Ik weet wel zeker dat dat niet door ons gebeurd is. De kaart is ook niet verloren. Ik heb ze in mijn tas zitten. Dat zeg ik ook. “Tja,’ zegt ze, “dan zul je de politie moeten contacteren om te vragen hoe dat komt.”

Hop. Naar de politie bellen dus. De vriendelijke agent checkt uitgebreid zijn computer. “Nee, hoor. Wij hebben zo’n aanvraag niet ontvangen volgens het Systeem, niets geannuleerd ook of doorgegeven aan het gemeentehuis..” Wij ook niet, want als je dat doet krijg je namelijk een papier met stempels en handtekeningen en dat hebben we niet.

Ik trek weer naar het gemeentehuis en leg de situatie uit. “Ja, het staat hier toch zo in het Systeem,” zegt de dame.

“Dus er is ergens een fout gebeurd, gezien wij nooit een identiteitskaart als verloren hebben opgegeven?” Dat had ik beter niet gezegd.

“Nee,” zegt ze bits. “Er kan geen fout gebeurd zijn want het staat hier zo in het Systeem.” “Kun je niet eens checken hoe dat daarin is gekomen?” “Nee, dat kunnen we niet checken, antwoordt ze al even kortaf. Onzin, natuurlijk. Je kunt dat altijd checken of laten checken. Maar ze zal er geen zin in gehad hebben.

“En wat als we op vakantie zouden gaan met het vliegtuig met een kaart die als geannuleerd staat bij jullie?” vraag ik. “Tja, dan had je niet meegekund,” zegt de dame schouderophalend.

Nu begin ik echt een pissig te worden. “Dus ik moet nieuwe pasfoto’s laten maken (5 Euro in het hokje) en een nieuwe identiteitskaart betalen (20,5 euro) voor iets dat niet onze schuld is?”

“Ja, er zal niks anders opzitten,” zegt ze.

Ik heb de kaart dringend nodig dus ik besluit niet tegen het systeem te gaan vechten deze keer. Ik geef een pasfoto en betaal.

Wanneer ik een week later de kaart ga ophalen, zegt ze: “Weet je, we hebben de laatste tijd wel meer van dit soort gevallen gehad van geannuleerde identiteitskaarten. Heel vreemd.”


Je moet maar eens per ongeluk als misdadiger in het systeem geboekt staan.


Of cats and skulls

The past few weeks have mostly been filled with sorting and listing old stuff and assignment related work.  I have also been studying a couple books for the sequel to Lazarus, mostly about Babylon and Grail stuff. Last but not least I’ve set up a small side site with some random funny images I encounter here and there. No fixed posting schedule so expectations are low.

There is not a lot of WIP  – written or painted –  ready to be flung on the net right now (it never is, really).  Instead I offer you a short overview of an art echibition we visited last week, Spanish still life at the Bozar (Brussels).  I was mainly interested in seeing the Velazquez up close as I’m still working on the copy of the dead Jesus but that was a little disappointing. However, there were two large canvases by Antonio de Pereda which was great. I’ve been studying those exact paintings for the Baroque style still life I still have on my plate, pun intended. It was possible to look at the paintings from a very short distance so we set off the alarms quite a few times, he he.

So here are some pictures I took, with some random comments included. Enjoy.

Small painting of books by an anonymous painter.  The colours and the light were exquisite.

Left side of the Velazquez painting. A bit drab imho.

A cat that looked a lot like our own house tiger hiding in one of the still lifes.

Melon and dead birds, the ideal dinner companions.

Another dead bird, by Goya this time.

Look at the man’s nose.

And next details of two of the Pereda paintings:


The knight’s dream. The light on the knight was amazing.



No overview but some details of the other Vanitas painting by Pereda:

A highly detailed globe

My favourite bit of the entire collection: the reflection in the harness


And last but not least the picture stuck to the table cover:

That’s all for today, folks…