Thursday, December 01, 2022

A Magnificent Pulpit Dedicated to St Andrew

Yesterday, as I was looking at artworks related to Saint Andrew for his feast day, I stumbled across this astonishing pulpit in a church dedicated to him in Antwerp, Belgium. The church itself was founded in the early 16th century, but the pulpit was installed in 1821, the work of two sculptors named Jan-Baptist Van Hool and Jan-Frans Van Geel. There was actually quite a vogue for large pulpits with highly naturalistic sculptures in the Low Countries from the 17th to the 19th centuries, as you can read in an article on Dutch Wikipedia, and see in the accompanying Wikimedia Commons pages. (Google translate works very well with Dutch. Photos from Wikimedia Commons by Ad Meskens, CC BY-SA 4.0)

At the base, we see the calling of Ss Peter and Andrew from their fishing boat, as read in the Gospel of St Andrew’s Mass, Matthew 4, 18-22. The artists have cleverly positioned the boat next to a cave by the sea, overhung by a small cliff, on which the preacher stands. The canopy above it is surmounted by St Andrew’s X-shaped cross.
Notice how the artists really put their craft to superb use with the intricate carving of things like the fishing-net, the leaves on the tree growing over the cave, and as seen below, the basket full of fish.
The remaining photos are by Jean Housen, from the same Wikimedia Commons page, also CC BY-SA 4.0.

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