Church of Our Lady of Victory at the Sablon

Abraham Janssens (1573-1632)

Mary with Child
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Zege op de Zavel in Brussel

The majestic church of Our Lady of Victory at the Sablon (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Zege op de Zavel) is located on the Grote Zavel square at the heart of the Brussels antiques district. It is a veritable treasure trove of all kinds of paintings, as well as impressive sculptures. The latter are found mostly in the chapels of the Thurn und Taxis family, who were the postmasters of the Habsburgs and were the founders of the Belgian postal service. 

Maria met Kind door Abraham Janssens

Our Lady of Victory at the Sablon

This 15th century church without a tower became famous due to a legend about a neglected statue of the Virgin Mary that was miraculously moved from Antwerp to Brussels. It was built at the initiative of the crossbowmen. Mary of Hungary, the sister of Charles V, was baptized here in 1505. It was the favourite place of worship of Margaret of Austria, the Governor of the Netherlands.

Mary with Child

The Antwerp painter Abraham Janssens was a contemporary and rival of Rubens. This artwork, which has only recently been attributed to him, is a demure depiction of Mary with Jesus and his older cousin John. Noteworthy are Mary’s sad, guarded look and the child’s playful, lively pose. The solemness, vibrancy and play of light remind us of the revolutionary Italian painter Caravaggio. Janssens was staying in Rome when the latter was also residing there. The painting is a gift from the Arenberg family, who owned a palace directly across from the church, to their concierge Jane Gilet.

 

Practical information

Address

Zavelstraat
1000 Brussel
Belgium
View directions

Opening hours

  • Open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 18.00 hrs.

  • Open Saturday and Sunday from 09.00 to 18.00 hrs.

Accessibility

  • Easy access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  • Admission: free

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