“Did you already seen the Kruisging of Frans Francken II?-. –Yes, but I imagine, though, that I can do it like that too, and the painting didn’t tell me anything new.”
Here –more or less- the dialogue via mail between Theo and Vincent Van Gogh.
2nd of January 1886, the Dutch artist is in Antwerpen and he visited the Sint-Andrieskerk. No, the paint of Frans Francken II is not one of his favourite but Vincent found in any case something interessant in our St. Andrew’s Church: a stained-glass window of the Stella Maris (destroyed in 1889 as a result of an explosion elsewhere in the city. Today the visitors find a replica above the Lady Chapel) defined «very, very remarkable».
The Sint-Andrieskerk is not one of the most famous eye-catcher of ‘t Stad but it is anyway a coffer with some treasures. The pulpit The Calling of the Apostles Andrew and Peter by Jan Frans Van Geel (1821) shows a naturalistic reproduction of the rocks, the vegetation, the boat, the nets and the protagonists. And in the baroque altar the masterpiece is the The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sculped in the 1729 by Willem Ignatius Kerricx: a theatrical presentation with life-size figures.
And did you know that back on 1712 two thieves -Jan De Visschere and Gillian de Backer- stole gold, diamonds and works of art from the church and sold goods in Rotterdam? The police got them after one year and they were executed on the Grote Markt. Or again, on the 30th of May 1755, the tower of the church fell down and the new and actual one was erected in the 1763 with an open wooden lantern. During the struggle for the Belgian independence, king Leopold I used the tower as lookout post on the Dutch army based in the city.
You find the St. Andrew’s Church in Waaistraat 5, Sint-Andrieskwartier (ça va sans dire). This one was for a long time a district inhabited mainly by needy people and in Willem Lepelstraat dozens of brothels were concentrated. Nowadays it is trendy a neighborhood between the center and ’t Zuid. On its streets you find dozens of cafès, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.