Leuven in Belgium, old buildings and art

Bridge across the Dijle, Groot Begijnhof, Leuven, 7 March 2013

Thursday, 7 March 2013. After yesterday, today to the Groot Begijnhof in Leuven, Belgium.

Street, Groot Begijnhof, Leuven, 7 March 2013

The Groot Begijnhof (Grand Béguinage in French) is a well-preserved and completely restored historical quarter of a dozen streets in the city center of Leuven.

Dijle river view from bridge, Leuven, 7 March 2013

Two branches of the Dijle river cross it, bridged by three bridges.

Lawn, Leuven, 7 March 2013

Near a lawn, great tit and blackbird.

Ignatius of Loyola statue, Leuven, 7 March 2013

The Jesuit order played a role in Leuven history. So, in the Groot Begijnhof, there is this small statue of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of that order.

Pigeon, Dijle bridge, Leuven, 7 March 2013

Back at a Dijle bridge, domestic pigeons. Also, Egyptian geese flying overhead.

Groot Begijnhof, Leuven, 7 March 2013

Then, after the Groot Begijnhof, on to the M-Museum Leuven.

This video says about itself:

A small fragment of a musical performance in the M-Museum, in Leuven, Belgium.

This museum has a big art collection, from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. But they don’t exhibit all of that permanently; like many other museums.

When you enter, you see religious sculptures. One from the twelfth century, one from the fourteenth century. Most are from the sixteenth century, a “golden age” for the Low Countries, especially the southern provinces. However, the museum does not show much from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Then, the Habsburg rulers had managed to oppress the sixteenth century revolt against King Philip II of Spain: not in the north, which went on to have its Golden Age in the seventeenth century and would become the Netherlands; in the south, which later became Belgium. Though early in the seventeenth century, Rubens and others still made Antwerp a center of art, Leuven and many other southern Low Countries areas became backwaters economically and artistically under the Spanish and Austrian Habsburg monarchs.

The museum does have a lot of nineteenth century objects. Many of them are by Constantin Meunier (12 April 1831 – 4 April 1905). Though born in a Brussels working class neighbourhood, Meunier worked in Leuven at his painting and sculpture for quite some time.

A major theme in Meunier’s work is the Belgian working class, their exploitation and their bad situation at work. His style is called “social realism”.

Constantin Meunier, Het grauwvuur

Constantin Meunier made this sculpture after a fire in a coal mine in 1887. It killed 120 miners. The sculpture depicts a mother, recognizing the dead body of her son among the victims of the disaster.


14 thoughts on “Leuven in Belgium, old buildings and art

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