Here is the continued article of “Bruges – Belgium ‘s pride (Part 2)”.
On the southeast side of the Burg is Bruges’ Town Hall (Stadhuis), one of the oldest in Belgium, having been constructed between 1376 and 1420. The facade of the delicate Gothic building displays the strong vertical emphasis characteristic of the style, with soaring pilasters, three of which end in octagonal turrets, separated by tall Gothic arched windows. Statues of the counts of Flanders from Baldwin Iron Arm onwards fill the 49 niches. Inside, don’t miss the great Gothic Hall on the first floor with its beautiful timber vaulting, which dates from 1402, and its murals recording events in the town’s history by A and J de Vriendt (1895-1900).
Liberty of Bruges
On the east side of the Burg, the Bruges Tourist Office occupies part of what was, up until 1984, the Law Courts, built between 1722 and 1727 on the site of the former Liberty of Bruges (Paleis van het Brugse Vrije) from where independent magistrates exercised jurisdiction over the region. Some fragments of the older building have survived, including the pretty 16th-century facade overlooking the canal at the rear. One or two of the more historic rooms inside are now the Brugse Vrije Museum and can be admired by visitors. Of particular interest is the Schepenzaal (lay magistrates’ court) where you can see the famous chimneypiece designed by the painter Lanceloot Blondeel in 1529 and executed in black marble and oak by Guyot de Beaugrant. This magnificent piece of Renaissance craftsmanship has an alabaster frieze above depicting the story of Susanna and the Elders with carved oak figures of the Emperor Charles V and his parents, Ferdinand and Isabella of Castille, Mary of Burgundy, and Maximilian.
Head to the Dijver Canal, to visit the Groeninge Museum (Stedelijk Museum voor Schone Kunst), which holds Bruges’ best collection of art. In addition to its excellent endowment of Old Flemish paintings, the museum also incorporates a gallery of modern art and a superb collection of views of old Bruges. However, the first five rooms of the museum are the ones most likely to claim your attention as they contain quite exceptional paintings by Old Flemish masters. In Room 1 hang two major works by Jan van Eyck: Madonna and the donor, Canon van der Paele (1436) and the portrait of Margaret van Eyck, the artist’s wife, painted when she was 33 years of age (1439). In Room 3 are panels illustrating the legend of St. Ursula and a portrait of Luis Gruuthuse, both famous works by unknown Bruges masters, and the Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch are among the paintings in Room 5.
Hope you enjoyed the article and maybe enjoy your time in Bruges, Belgium.
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