Antwerpen is full of statues of the Madonna. You find them in dozens of corners: coloreful sculptures, white statuettes, with or without Christ Child, and so on. And most of them, have a lantern by the basement. Do you know why? For several reasons. First, they are hung at the corners to be visible from two streets at least. Second, the final exam to become a sculptor was made statue of the Madonna so the city had hundreds of this effigies. Third, in the past, you had to pay a fee if you had a lantern hung on the facade of your house or shop or pub. But if the lighting was near a religious statue then the tax disappeared.


No doubt: one of the most impressive Madonna is on the Meir, on corner with Lange Klerenstraat (actual Bershka shop), sculpted by Laurentius Gillis in late-baroque style. And do you know the history behind this masterpiece? In the very beginning, she decorated a Jesuit building, in Sint-Jacobsmarkt. At that time, the statue was much more complex with the sculpture of Aloysius Gonzaga, on his knees, and some cherubs around the Virgin. In 1814 -few years after the suppression of the Jesuit order- the statue has been moved on the corner between the Meir and Twaalfmaandenstraat. Without the sculpture of Aloysius Gonzaga and the cherubs. In 1872 -after the explosion of a fireworks shops in this area-  the statue has been transferred to the current location. Yes, again without Aloysius Gonzaga and the cherubs but with an angel at the basement, still there with his roll and Ave Maria on it. Today, it seems that the Madonna is showing her son to the shoppers on the Meir.

You can find the Madonna on the corner between Lange Klarenstraat and the Meir.

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