Just a tiny posting to keep this blog alive. In a way, it is a follow-up of the first posting of this year, about Prudences I found in Rome (and maybe also a pinch to myself, urging me to write more about the trove of other art-mirrors we found there).
Anyway, this is not Rome. This is Antwerpen, and specifically its famous Grote Markt, with the Brabo Monument in front of the City Hall. We’ve been to the city twenty times, if not more, in different seasons and different times of the day (including a few trips already after I wrote my ‘seminal’ overview of the depictions of Prudence and her mirrors in art history – see Prudence at her Toilette.) And yet it was very, very recently that I finally paid attention to the sculptures
And yet it was very, very recently that I finally paid attention to the sculptures on the facade of the City Hall and found there – guess whom?
Prudence is the right sculpture if you look at the building:
(Just for the record, the other sculpture is of Justice; no mirrors)
The City Hall of Antwerpen has a complicated story. By the beginning of 16th century Antwerpen was one of the largest and most prosperous in Europe, and yet its ‘stadhuis’ was located in an old and small building. The first design for the new City Hall drafted by Antwerpen architect Domien de Waghemakere proposed a
building in a monumental Gothic style. This plan has never materialized because the majority of the materials gathered for the building had been instead used for city fortification.
The City Hall was finally completed in 1565, but already using different design developed by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt, Flemish sculptor and architect. However, this building was burned down by the Spaniards in 1576, during the Sack of Antwerp. It was rebuilt three years later, but Cornelis Floris de Vriendt was already dead by then (he died in 1575). It could be another sculptor, likely Willem van den Broeck, who restored the sculptures (or even created his own.)
It was rebuilt three years later, but Cornelis Floris de Vriendt was already dead by then (he died in 1575). It could be another sculptor, likely Willem van den Broeck, who restored the sculptures (or perhaps even created his own ones, roughly following the first design – I don’t know, and can’t find online who exactly was the author of this Prudence.)