Tag: burgundians

For whom the bells toll

Just an overview of June and the beginning of July. It is about a month ago that I last posted something so a few things have happened since then.

2019 is six months old. The Charles the B quest and artwork have been on the back burner for a while because there was a lot of stuff that had to be done for art school (end of year activities such as the open days, plein air painting etc.), real life (clearing out houses, taxes, etc) and extracurricular activities (reenactment). I have been updating IG with about a picture a day but I haven’t updated the pages of this site yet.

1. Open days

There were many adult students and children graduating from the academy this year. Their exhibition took place in a local museum that has been temporarily emptied for renovation works later on. I didn’t take any photographs of the exhibition, though. It was very hot and crowded during the opening weekend so I didn’t bother.

The open days of the other students took place in their own ateliers. I was there for demo painting on Friday night but didn’t achieve a lot (apart from chatting with friends, Romans and countrymen :/).

The painting atelier. It’s usually not so tidy during the year, but full of pupils, easels and workbenches, etc.

On the hottest day of the year so far we had our yearly “Place du Tertre” event where students (volunteers) sit down at their easels and draw or paint people (volunteers and models) in public. Here is a view from my easel on the square where the museum of the exhibition is located. For privacy reasons no pictures of my drawings or the general public.

The building is the old prison. It looks medieval but it’s not that old. It’s a small museum now.

2. Random things

Too hot to hike but there was a guided tour of the church belfry of the Roman + many other ages church a week ago. It doesn’t happen often and it’s something I wanted to do for quite some time.

The church with the bell tower on the left. You enter the tower via a small door at the bottom.
The first floor can be reached via a narrow spiral staircase.
From one of the windows of the tower one can see the gothic church. Building ended in around 1470 but it was never actually finished as it was intended to be at least 2,3 times as large.
The carillon at the top under the vaulted ceiling. Originally it dates from the first quarter of the 18th century. It can be played automatically or manually.
Counterweight of a clock, one floor down in a side room.
The thing that intrigued me the most was the dark room beneath the counterweights. The floor is sand/dust and what you see is a wooden walkway. It was not accessible.
Interior. I took this during a previous visit.

3. Reenactment

Spent the weekend at Hélécine, at the medieval weekend. My grandparents used to live in a neighbouring village, just a couple miles away, so I know the domain quite well. I didn’t camp there, however. Some pictures made with my phone in a rush, so not great quality.

Castle of Hélécine, not medieval.
Tents (not our group)
More tents
Dudes in armour. Red cross so guess Burgundians
Soupçon de bataille
Battle, removed the visitors as much as I could, hence the strange framing

4. The quest

Not much done. Reading the Hermit book about Charles the Bold, the memoirs of Filips van Komen.


The Sword in the Stone: Brugge III

The last one about Bruges, just random stuff connected to the Dukes.

After the tombs, I went to the museum (see Brugge I), where I spent quite some time looking at the paintings and some more time in the shop looking at all the weird touristy objects. By the time I was done, I was thirsty and hungry so I had a snack and a coffee which are not difficult to come by. After that I went to the basilica of the Holy Blood. I was just in time for the opening of the doors of the chapel at 1400 hours, which meant this time I was also able to witness the small ceremony when the blood is brought out.

The Blood wasn’t my main goal but as I was there anyway, I queued up to have another look at it. As I wrote last August, it is not allowed to take pictures of the Holy Blood. I also seem to have misplaced the leaflet I got, which has some info.

This time I managed to spot the dukes in the main part of the chapel, on the not so old stained glass windows. It took a bit of experimenting with the settings of the camera to take a decent picture, and avoid the glare of the sun. The B is quite far away as well. He is pictured with his second wife, not the third, for some reason.

And these are Maximillian and Mary of Burgundy. Well I suppose, it’s them, they definitely look like them in any case:

Then I went down to the old St. Basil chapel underneath. There were no relics on show, so a magical sword is still out of the question.

After that I did ‘the Burgundian walk’ I found on the internet, more or less anyway. I ended up in the Prinsenhof where the Dukes had their residence in the city. Now, from what I gather it is a big hotel and a smaller hotel on the side. The buildings look new to me, but then a lot in Bruges is not as old or as old as it looks. According to the info on the website the Karel de Stoute hotel is located where his old town house was, it’s a hard to tell, though.

The somewhat ridiculous The Dukes Palace (not sure what public they’re aiming at):

And the smaller Karel de Stoute:

Then I wandered around a bit until it was time for my train.


The Sword in the Stone: Brugge II

The first thing I did was head towards the O.L.Vrouwkerk which is situated in the middle of Bruges. Restoration works have been going on for years and at the moment the chapel where the Madonna by Michelangelo is normally located is inaccessible so the sculpture is not on display, just a cast. There was a lot of noise and dust so the entrance fee for the ‘museum’ was only 2 Euro instead of 6.

Apart from the things mentioned above there is large altarpiece by van Orley, a few medieval tombs and some not so great paintings. Unless you’ve never seen the choir of an old church or are very into Michelangelo and the B & C°, its probably not worth getting a ticket for the ‘museum’ (flog me if you think I deserve it). The outside is not very spectacular either.

This is the church interior, the tombs are at the back, behind the grate in the middle.

Mary’s tomb dates from just some years after her death, around 1500. The B’s tomb is much newer, from the middle of the 16th century. In 1979, when restoration works were going on (yeah, it’s a local tradition), Mary’s coffin and skeleton were discovered by accident. It turns out, the tombs were moved during the course of the centuries.

They are now back in their original positions. An autopsy of the skeleton revealed that it matches the injuries Mary sustained when she fell of her horse during a hunting trip. She was only 25. There was a small box with her, which contained the heart of Philip II, her son, who died of an illness or poisoning at 28. Charles was killed/committed virtual suicide at Nancy at 43. That’s three generations of tragic deaths at a (relatively) young age. With that in mind, the wide open, staring eyes of the effigies, are rather creepy.

According to Wikipedia the coffin with her skeleton is visible but I couldn’t see it though I crawled around on my knees (it was very calm that day and hardly any visitors came by). There was a bad reflection on the glass, so maybe that’s why. I saw some pictures of the skeleton somewhere but I think it was in a library book.

Here are some pictures of her tomb. Unfortunately, because I’m on the short side, it turned out to be impossible to take picture from a above. Eg. for the first one I stood on my toes with my arm high up and it’s still not high enough.

Also according to Wikipedia, Charles the Bold was originally buried in the St. Donaas church, which was demolished later on. But somewhere else I read that when they brought his remains to Bruges, they put the casket in Mary’s tomb as a temporary solution, until there was room for him, so I’ll have to look into that. In any case, he’s not home. First of all, the skeleton has disappeared, maybe during a revolution when the church was pillaged and thrashed. Secondly, the bones, or at least the skull, that were brought to Bruges, were probably not his. His heart is probably still somewhere in the soil of Nancy.

Engraving of the tomb in its previous location:

The graves below:

Now if this is a real Carravaggio I’ll eat my hat:


The sword in the stone: Cathlijn & Geert

The idea was, now spring and summer are approaching, to do a physical tour of the old Duchy of Burgundy, not just for the quest but as a source of inspiration for paintings. Many places are not too far away and can be reached in less than half a day. This B tour needs a lot of research though. There are plenty of history books but none of them has the complete story. So if I make mistakes, just tell me so I can correct them and don’t take everything I say for granted. Mistakes will be made.

The first thing I visited, last week was a nearby graveyard. When I was looking for the route the Burgundian troops followed on their way to Liège I came across a story on the website of the village of Oorbeek about the gravestone of Cathlyn van Oirbeeck. Cathlyn died in 1475, when Charles the Bold was still Duke of Burgundy and not rotting away in Nancy. But what’s even more interesting is that Cathlyn was the widow of Gerard de Ryckel aka Geert van Rijkel, a nobleman from the Liège area. Gerard died in the battle of Monthléry in 1465 (Ligue du Bien Public vs Louis XI). I am not going to recount the whole story of that battle, but it was an important one (imho) where the B almost got killed. The information about the circumstances of Gerard’s death is not chiseled into the stone. It is on an old engraving of a picture, commissioned by Cathlyn, which used to be in the church that was destroyed and which shows the couple kneeling down in prayer.

Here is a bigger picture of the stone:

The current St. George church is obviously not Burgundian. These regions have been ravaged and pillaged numerous times in the course of history. The original church was destroyed by soldiers in 1582 during the religious wars. A new church was built in 1778.

The gravestone is damaged. It used to be inside the church as the top part of a monument/ mausoleum for Cathlyn. The stone was later enclosed in the wall of the new church.

With the help of the info on the Oorbeek site and some digging around in my bookcase I found a catalogue that came from the family collection which shows the engraving with the source where it came from (Le Grand Theatre Sacré du Duché de Brabant) and with this info I found a scanned copy on e-rara. Just to show that often the night is dark and full of winding roads.

So – drumroll – here is what Gérard and Cathlyn looked like:

It’s always more interesting when names get a face. Note that the date of the battle is not correct in the engraving. It reads 1460 instead of 1465.

Next up will be the Bruges trip, me thinks; I am researching some anti-Burgundian dude from Limburg who is mightily interesting and and some obscure self-proclaimed knights but I need more time for that one. And I still need to make a wax doll.


Flipje!

Dit is het boek waar ik het eerder over had. Gisteren gaan ophalen bij de lokale boekenboer. Nog niet in begonnen. Het zal me wel een aantal avonden zoet houden want het boek is tamelijk dik (bijna 600 blz).

De Flip ziet er op zijn portretten altijd heel seutig/paterachtig uit. Niet te geloven dat dat zo’n fuifnummer en vrouwengek was, eigenlijk.


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