Church of our Lady

For admirers of Michalangelo, one is able to find his work outside of the beautiful landscapes of Italy, and instead in Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Notre Dame or the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium is home to one of the finest and interesting artistic artifacts known today, the Madonna of Bruges.

The Madonna of Bruges is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo of the Virgin and Child.

Michelangelo’s depiction of the Madonna and Child differs significantly from earlier representations of the same subject, which tended to feature a pious Virgin smiling down on an infant held in her arms. Instead, Jesus stands upright, almost unsupported, only loosely restrained by Mary’s left hand, and appears to be about to step away from his mother. Meanwhile, Mary does not cling to her son or even look at him, but gazes down and away. It is believed the work was originally intended for an altar piece.

Madonna and Child shares certain similarities with Michelangelo’s Pietà, which was completed shortly before.

The work was the first sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy during his lifetime. In 1504, it was bought by Giovanni and Alessandro Moscheroni (Mouscron), who were wealthy cloth merchants in Bruges, then one of the leading commercial cities in Europe. The sculpture was sold for 4,000 florins.

The sculpture was removed twice from Belgium after its initial arrival. The second time being returned to Bruges in 1945 having been discovered in Altaussee, Austria within a salt mine. It now sits in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium.

Read what others share about their experience

  • Anthony D'Ascoli
    in the last week
    Much nicer church than expected. The lines for Michelangelo are long. But worth the wait and the...
  • Keaton Adams
    4 weeks ago
    Really cool Catholic church! It’s pretty much simply a museum these days, but is still somewhat...
  • Julie Cortino
    2 months ago
    Wow wow wow! The inside of this cathedral is beautiful! Very easy to read signs in multiple...
  • Z EE
    2 weeks ago
    Very calm church in the middle of Brugge chaos. You can walk in and see some exhibits without...
  • Laurentiu Ovidiu Calin
    2 months ago
    The tallest building in Bruges, but you can't climb into the tower. Part of the church has free...

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