Welcome to my Blog
This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
I hope this will become a valued and rich source of inspiration and knowledge. Please Leave comments and enjoy your visit.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Church of Saint-Nicholas in Eupen, Belgium | Confessional chairs Liège style | Church interior from the 18th century

Church of Saint-Nicholas in Eupen, Belgium

As well as being rich in works of   art, the Church of Saint Nicholas at Eupen is also interesting for its special architectural features.


Eupen is a city and municipality in the Belgian province of Liège, 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the German border (Aachen), and from the Dutch border (Maastricht) is a stone's throw from the "High Fens" nature reserve (Ardennes). The town is also the capital of the Euroregion Meuse-Rhine.
First mentioned in 1213 as belonging to the Duchy of Limburg, possession of Eupen passed to Brabant, Burgundy, the Holy Roman Empire and France before being given in 1815 to Prussia, which joined the German Empire in 1870. In 1919, after the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles transferred Eupen and the nearby municipality of Malmedy from Germany to Belgium.
German remains the official language in Eupen, and the city serves as the capital for Belgium's German-speaking Community.

Eupen, Belgium

According to the records, there was a chapel at Eupen in 1213, witch was replaced by a church during the 14th and 15th centuries.
The present church was built in 1720-1726 to the plans of the architect L.Mefferdatis of Aachen and consecrated in 1729. all that remains of the former church is the southern tower which has been incorporated into the new building's facade. during the 19th century it was decided to make this very simple facade more grandiose, and the work was carried out by the architect L. von Fisenne of Gelsenkirchen in 1897-1898.

Since that time the church has had two symmetrical towers flanking an dominating the central part, all in Baroque style. The transformed tower of the earlier church is the one to the south. The entrance door in the middle of the facade is that of 1724 church, and the new facade was built in the same style.
Saint- Nicholas is of the hall-church type, that is to say with three naves op equal height and without transpet or ambulatory. 

This type of construction avoids the need to support the arches, making flying buttresses unnecessary.
The nave of the church is made from heavy stones partially from the earlier building. The windows are large and semi-circular with stone frames. The choir is in seven sections and is crowned with a tall pinnacle. The roof is in slate.
Inside, the arched ceilings of the three naves are decorated with some retrained stucco work. The columns of the bays are cylindrical and of polished stone.

Church of Saint-Nicholas in Eupen, Belgium

Church interior from the 18th century

The interior decoration is in the Baroque style and the antique furnishings are especially typical of Liège. (Liège style furniture). Of particular interest are the many works of art inside the church, like the imposing and well-proportioned high altar (1740-1744), with its statues of Saint Nicholas and Saint Lambert and its sumptuous framework. The two side altars (1770) are equally remarkable. Two richly decorated niches shelter fine statues of the Virgin and Saint Joseph from the 19th century.

Confessional chairs Liège style

Confessional chairs Liège style, detail

Other furnishings worth seeing include: the pulpit (1730), four confessionals (1758), beautiful, elegant
panelling, two huge candlesticks, the organs ( 1760-1762), pews in the great nave, etcc..  The statues of the apostles (1640) against the columns come from a church in Köln, Germany.

Outside, against the northern tower, ia a very fine Christ on a Cross (1852)
Also noteworthy are the elegant sculptured stone pillars standing in front of the church, linked together by the latticework railing of the ancient cemetery (1767)

Church interior from the 18th century

Church of Saint-Nicholas in Eupen, Belgium


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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Fasces symbol as an ornament | Lictors Bundle | Decorative symbolism | FASCES made of wood, stone and metal | FASCES

The fasces symbol as an ornament |  Lictors Bundle 

Since I started with my studies about ornamental wood carving, I have come across a symbol on the street, in a museum or on a furniture; a symbol to which I did not pay too much attention at the beginning. 
Than since Marc van de Cruys, -editor of the magazine Heraldicum Disputationes*- has devoted an article about it, I have immersed myself in this symbol. What I discovered about the symbol turned out to be so interesting that I want to highlight it in this blog.

*Heraldicum Disputationes is a Belgian magazine specialized in the theme of heraldry. The magazine appears four times per year and an annual subscription cost only 20 euros.

The fasces symbol 

The symbol where this blog is all about is the ‘fasces’ or ‘Lictors Bundle’.
The fasces (latin, singular ‘fascis’, plural ‘fasces’) is a rod bundle, a bundle of sticks that encloses an ax and that is tied together with a belt. If you do not know the right meaning of this symbol, it looks like any other decorative ornament. But on the contrary, this symbol has a unique meaning.

The rods, usually birch but sometimes elm sticks, were a symbol of the ‘power to punish’. The ax symbolized the ‘power over life and death’ and the red leather belts means the ‘power to arrest’. The fasces thus symbolize the authority of the higher magistrates and dates to the time of the ancient Romans.

Whenever our Roman authorities made an official tour, they were preceded by the fasces as signs of authority, carried by officials (the Lictores) . That is why the fasces are also known as lictors bundles.

The number of fasces carried by a magistrate corresponded to his position. For example, a Roman consul was escorted by 12 lictors; in comparison with a praetor (kind of judge), who was escorted by only 6 pieces.

Lictores not only served as entourage, they were also empowered with execution decision authority, such as gaining access to buildings or opening doors and arresting and punishing people.

Lictores had to be free citizens, strongly built and they wore a toga (gown). The word lictor can be derived from ‘ligare’, which has the meaning of: binding.
In the original meaning of the fasces, the bundle of branches served to keep captured people and the ax was used to decapitated them, if necessary. 

After the 5th century, this meaning had already become to fade away, because the decision to execute could not be taken by a single magistrate. The symbolic meaning such kind of of authority stretches into our time.

In the iconography, the fasces are an attribute to personified justice. Therefore, this symbol has been introduced in the US Senate on both sides of the President’s seat. The fasces are also the symbol of unity, for example in a marriage. In this example, it is carried by Amor.

Entrance Château de Compiègne (FR)

The Romans borrowed the symbol from the Etruscans, where it was a royal symbol and more than likely for ‘power and unity’. A single branch is easy to break; while a bundle is virtually impossible to break in half.

When the First French Republic was proclaimed in 1792, they reverted to the Roman Republic, using the fasces as a symbol for the republic.

During the WWI, fascism began in the Kingdom of Italy, which started to use the rod bundle as a symbol of national unity. Mussolini founded the Partito Nazionale Fascista in1921 with the fasces in the party logo. 

Since then, right-dictatorial regimes, based on discrimination, have been called fascist. The symbol will (like the swastika) never get rid of this negative burden.

Translation Lis Alvar R

Château de Chantilly (FR) | Supraporte, horse stables 
Right, the lictors bundle

Iron overdoor light in the streets of Paris.

Symbolism in the ornamentation | Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Detail gilded frame |  Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Left top of the picture, the lictors bundle |
Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Detail of buffet cupboard | Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

Paris, Musée de la Légion d'honneur et des ordres de chevalerie

Supraporte with ornaments executed in plaster |
Ansbach (Germany) Residenz

Royal Palace Brussels | Ceiling painting trophy with attributes war

Detail, The lictors Bundle

Saturday, 11 November 2017

The City of GHENT | Architectural detail in WOOD and STONE | Ornamental Detail in the streets of Ghent (Belgium)

Ghent, Europe’s Best Kept Secret

The undiscovered Flemish jewel of a city boasts an opera house, a handful of museums, even more ancient churches, and countless bridges spanning the two rivers that wind themselves through the city. The true joy of the town is to be found whiling away an afternoon in an outdoor café. Whether your wrapped under blankets sipping a coffee in the winter or sunning yourself in the springtime with a cold Belgium brew, you will fit in with the locals if you simply enjoy the great atmosphere this town offers. If possible, find a seat on the Graslei, a scenic canal spot in the centre of town, with a great view on the many bridges, grand houses and medieval buildings.

Alternatively, hop on a bike and explore the nearby Patershol district with a small labyrinth of charming cobblestone streets, the towering Gravensteen Castle and Unesco recognised bell tower. The laid back atmosphere of this liveable, lovable city means enjoying the vibrant nightlight of a university town then quaffing cava at the flower market the following Sunday morning.