Saint James’ Church

Artus Quellinus (1609-1668)

Pietà
Sint-Jacobskerk Antwerpen

Sint-Jacobstraat 9, Antwerpen

 

Saint James’ Church

The Gothic Sint-Jacobskerk in Antwerp's student district was built between 1490 and 1656. The interior overwhelms you with its Baroque, marble furnishings and 24 altars. This was quite clearly a parish church of well-to-do citizens. One of them, Peter Paul Rubens, was given his final resting place here in 1640. The art collection, which includes funerary monuments, magnificent church furniture and a resplendent church treasury is uncommonly lavish. The church is still a pilgrimage church for those travelling to Santiago de Compostela and is known for its traditional Mass celebrations.

Sint-Jacobskerk in Antwerpen

Pietà - Artus Quellinus (1609-1668)

The Pietàby Artus Quellinus I is displayed in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekapel (Chapel of Our Lady) of the Sint-Jacobskerk. Not on the main altar but serenely displayed on a pedestal beside it. It has stood there since 1650. Around that time the Jesuits planned the revival of a late medieval tradition associated with meditation focused on the five wounds of Christ. With the bishop’s permission, the Pieta of Artus I Quellinus was inaugurated on 6 March 1650 (the first Sunday of Lent). The following Sunday of Lent it was carried in procession around the church and then placed before the altar of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekapel. With ‘organ accompaniment’ consisting of the impressive Stabat Mater Dolorosa.

The beautiful sculpture by Artus I Quellinus depicts the Blessed Virgin under the cross, in a contemplative and meditative pose. Dignified and self-possessed. Extremely important and evident in the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekapel is the ‘duty’ of Mary. She shows the body of her deceased son, sitting under the shroud in which Jesus will be wrapped and buried. She is also no longer isolated from her son in these Pièta representations. She is as one with him, which provides a captivating image for meditation concerning his death. The Quellinus family left behind a significant legacy in the Sint-Jacobskerk. One of them, Artus II, was even given his final resting place there: in front of the chancel end but with a ‘view’ of the main altar where ‘his’ Sint-Jacobus (Saint James) is the centre piece. Both Erasmus II Quellinus and his son Jan-Erasmus (1634-1715) are represented with impressive altarpieces.

Antwerpen Artus Quellinus Piëta

Practical information

Address

Sint-Jacobstraat 9
2000 Antwerpen
Belgium
View directions

Opening hours

  • Open Monday to Sunday from 14.00 to 17.00 hrs.

  • Closed on Christmas and New Year's Day

  • Opening hours may vary.

Accessibility

  • Easy access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  • Admission: free

Other sites nearby

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