Thursday, June 25, 2020

Armorial Stained Glass Windows in the Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp

Today we begin to look at the (many) armorial stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium.

There's a bunch of them, and they are all wonderful creations of the glazier's art!

I will probably not be taking all in the order that I photographed them, as:

1. Some have a lot more heraldry on them than others, requiring more time to research and identify the individual coats;

2. My resources for identifying Belgian and other Low Country heraldry are not nearly as extensive as those I have for English, Scottish, and Irish arms, thus also increasing the time necessary for identification;

3. As I review my pictures, I keep finding new "heraldic hidden treasures" in them, which in addition to delighting me, also distract me from the main thrust of what I'm trying to do.

4. Adding to these other difficulties, most of the guidebooks and on-line information about the art of the cathedral tends to focus on all of the paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and others. Now, don’t get me wrong; I like Rubens. (No, really!) But he doesn’t do heraldry, and heraldry is where my primary interest lies. So I feel that the heraldry in the cathedral has taken a back seat to the famous painter and his compatriots in the art world.

All that said, we're going to have some fun; as I said, these windows are gorgeous!

The first window we're going to look at is the one erected by the Fugger family. The Fuggers were merchants and bankers of Augsburg; Counts in 1507, and in 1803 Princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Alongside the Welser family, the Fugger family controlled much of the European economy in the Sixteenth Century and accumulated enormous wealth.

The Fuggers were paying close attention to the Antwerp copper market at least as early as the 1490s as they began to move more and more toward copper mining, but most of their business in the city would not come until the first years of the Sixteenth Century. Hence their connection to Antwerp.

The central theme of this window is The Conversion of Saul (to Paul). Anthony Fugger (nicknamed “the Rich”) is depicted kneeling at the base of the window.

The Fugger family had two main branches, with different coats of arms. The “Fugger of the Deer” branch, founded by Andreas Fugger (1394-1457) bore Azure a doe salient or. The “Fugger of the Lily” branch, founded by Jakob Fugger the Elder (1398-1469), bore Per pale azure and or two fleurs-de-lis counterchanged.

You can see the arms of the lily branch of the Fugger family twice near the peak of the window.

If you look closely, at the very apex of the window you can see a fleur-de-lis per pale azure and or.

I recommend that you click on the image of the full window to go to a larger version and just spend some time looking at all the details: the different Roman soldiers, the dogs (especially the one curled up not quite asleep below the crucifix, the horses and camels, and, well, everything else.


No comments:

Post a Comment