Our Lady Chapel detail in the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder Amsterdan BW

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Our Lady chapel detail in the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic), a 17th-century canal house in the city center of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The canal house on the 14th century canal Oudezijds Voorburgwal, currently on number 40, was built in 1630. Between 1661 and 1663 the top three floors of the house were changed into a house church. The building was renovated in the 18th and 19th century.

The Catholic Church was built on the top three floors of the canal house during the 1660s. It is an important example of a “schuilkerk”, or “clandestine church” in which Catholics and other religious dissenters from the seventeenth century Dutch Reformed Church, unable to worship in public, held services.

Since there is no room for an altar to Mary in the Attic Church, the area behind the main altar has been set up as a chapel to Our Lady. Immediately alongside the altar, there is a multi-coloured limewood statue of Maria (circa 1690) thought to originate from the Attic Church. She carries Jesus under her arm and is standing on the crescent moon. She has a snake caught under her feet, a symbol of all evil.

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Saskia Rembrandt’s tomb

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Description

Saskia Rembrandt’s tomb in Oude Kerk (Old church), Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Saskia van Uylenburgh (August 2, 1612 – June 14, 1642) was the wife of painter Rembrandt van Rijn. In the course of her life she was his model for some of his paintings, drawings and etchings. She was the daughter of a Frisian mayor.

Saskia was born in Leeuwarden, Friesland, the youngest of the eight children of Sjoukje Ozinga and Rombertus van Uylenburgh, a top lawyer, a town burgomaster, and one of the founders of the University of Franeker.

In 1631 and in the company of the Mennonite painters Govert Flinck and Jacob Backer, traveled to Amsterdam. There she met Rembrandt, who produced paintings and portraits for Uylenburgh’s Amsterdam clients. In turn Rembrandt travelled to Leeuwarden, where he was received by the painter Wybrand de Geest, who had married Saskia’s niece.

Saskia and Rembrandt were engaged in 1633, and on 10 June 1634 Rembrandt asked permission to marry in Sint Annaparochie. He showed his mother’s written consent to the schepen. On 2 July the couple married. The preacher was Saskia’s cousin, but evidently none of Rembrandt’s family attended the marriage. That Saskia fell in love with an artist who was socially no match for the daughter of a patrician and that she pressed for a speedy betrothal against all conventions certainly shows that she was a very strong and independent character. In 1635 the couple moved to one of the most desirable addresses in Amsterdam, the Nieuwe Doelenstraat, with prominent neighbors and a view of the river Amstel.

Three of their children died shortly after birth and were buried in the nearby Zuiderkerk. The sole survivor was Titus, who was named after his mother’s sister Titia (Tietje) van Uylenburgh. Saskia died the year after he was born, in Amsterdam, aged 29, probably from tuberculosis. She was buried in the Oude Kerk.[7] For ten years Rembrandt focused on drawings and etchings.

In 1662 Rembrandt, having been in financial trouble for several years, sold Saskia’s grave. Hendrickje died the following year.

The vase of flowers is part of the work ‘Celebration (you only live once)(you only die once)’ that Job Koelewijn (NL, 1962) has created especially for the exhibition “Once in a lifetime” (12 May – 28 August 2016). The work consists of an installation of vases with colourful, fragrant flowers. The vases are placed carefully on the church’s tombstone floor, in memory of the dead who were buried here many centuries ago.

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An empty cell in Old Cork City Gaol BW

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Cork City Gaol is a former prison located in Cork City, Ireland.

In 1806 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the building of a new Cork City Gaol to replace the old Gaol at the Northgate Bridge (the old Gaol which was nearly 100 years was on a confined site and was overcrowded & unhygienic).

A site on Sunday’s Well was eventually chosen, its altitude being seen as an advantage for containing “Gaol fever” (typhus). The site, its approach roads and perimeters was commenced in 1816 and the building of the prison proper started in 1818. The building was designed by William Robertson of Kilkenny and built by the Deane family.

The new Cork City Gaol opened in 1824 & was reported as being “the finest in 3 kingdoms”. In 1870 the west wing was remodelled into a double sided cell wing.

When the prison opened in the 1820s it housed both male and female prisoners, whose crimes were committed within the city boundary. Anyone committing a crime outside that boundary were committed to the County Gaol, across the river from the City Gaol near University College Cork. The Fenian Brian Dillon was remanded at Cork City Gaol when he was arrested in September 1865.

The 1878 General Prisons Act reorganised the prisons in Cork. The Cork City Gaol became a Women’s Gaol (for Cork City and Cork County) and the Cork County Gaol near UCC became the men’s gaol (for Cork City and Cork County). On the day the change came into effect male prisoners were marched out of the Sunday’s Well Prison and over to the Western Road Gaol, while the women were marched in the opposite direction.

Nineteenth Century.
Many of the prisoners in the late 19th Century were repeat offenders locked up for what would not today be imprisonable offences; for example, a woman named Mary Tucker from Rathmore in County Cork was imprisoned at least three times between 1849 and 1908, sometimes for offences such as ‘Obscene Language’ or ‘Drunkenness’.

Twentieth Century.
During the Irish War of Independence Republican women prisoners were imprisoned in the Gaol. In October 1919, Constance Markievicz, the first woman to be elected to the British Parliament, was imprisoned at Cork Gaol for making a seditious speech. In January 1919, another member of Cumann na mBan, Mary Bowles, was imprisoned for arms offences. Later that month a Republican prisoner named Dolly Burke escaped from the prison.

In 1922 and 1923, the prison was opened to male and female Republican (anti-treaty) prisoners of the Irish Civil War. One of those imprisoned at the time was the writer Frank O’Connor.

A spectacular escape was made from the Gaol in November 1923. The escapees were high-value prisoners who had been sent to the Gaol as it was “the safest place to hold them”.

The Gaol closed in August 1923 with all remaining prisoners either released or transferred to other prisons.

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A Scene In Oude Kerk Amsterdam

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© RicardMN Photography

Two works of the exhibition “Once in a lifetime” (12 May – 28 August 2016) in Oude Kerk (Old church), Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1.- In the work ‘Heritage’ by Folkert de Jong (NL, 1972), and older man and child are sitting on a stack of pallets. Downcast and timid they stare straight ahead. In the monumental church they seem particularly vulnerable and lonely. Where do they come from? What are they waiting for? What is making them so dejected? By calling the work Heritage, Folkert de Jong is alluding to the fact that we are not only responsible for our behaviour in the present, but are responsible for the behaviour of our predecessors in the past as well. Typical of Folkert de Jong’s work is his use of coloured styrofoam and polyurethane foam. These materials are not intended to last for eternity and are not environmentally friendly whatsoever. It is this disturbing property that intrigues the artist. In his sculptures he often refers to dark events in the past, which he then relates to contemporary events with an ironic twist, connecting the history of art with the present day.

2.- The work ‘Celebration (you only live once)(you only die once)’ that Job Koelewijn (NL, 1962) has created especially for the exhibition consists of an installation of vases with colourful, fragrant flowers. The vases are placed carefully on the church’s tombstone floor, in memory of the dead who were buried here many centuries ago. Flowers are used at many moments in life as an expression of joy, but they are also used at moments that are coupled with sorrow, as an expression of love and solace for the bereaved. In the church the flower arrangements leave a solemn, serene and at the same time slightly absurd impression. Who are we commemorating here and for whom do the flowers provide solace? Job Koelewijn’s work is often conceptual in character, but is at the same time strongly sensual and always alludes to reality. The subjects of ‘time’ and ‘timelessness’ play an important part in his work, which ranges from photos and films to small objects and space-filling installations. Koelewijn often uses materials that appeal to our sense of touch and smell, that possess a great fragility and ‘purity’.

The 800-year-old Oude Kerk (“old church”) is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.

Today, the Oude Kerk is a centre for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions and dinner parties. Among the events hosted is the prestigious annual World Press Photo awards ceremony. The venue hosts many concerts with performers including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

The plaque at the pillar is dedicated to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), a Dutch composer, organist, and pedagogue whose work straddled the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras. He was among the first major keyboard composers of Europe, and his work as a teacher helped establish the north German organ tradition.
(Description from oudekerk.nl and Wikipedia)

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The Vismarkt in Utrecht

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© RicardMN Photography

The Vismarkt (Fishmarket) in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Vismarkt is the old fish market whose origins go back to the 12th century and which still took place up to the 2nd half of the 20th century. To keep the fish fresh, it was placed in large baskets which were immersed in the canal. The canal is now lined with numerous antique shops.

Utrecht is the capital and most populous city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation and is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 330,772 in 2014.

Utrecht’s ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It lost the status of prince-bishopric but remains the main religious center in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was surpassed by Amsterdam as the country’s cultural centre and most populous city.

The Dom tower and the remaining section of the Dom church have not been connected since the collapse of the nave in 1674.

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Under the scaffolding of The Palace of Justice – Brussels

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© RicardMN Photography

The Palace of Justice (French: Palais de Justice, Dutch: Justitiepaleis) or Law Courts of Brussels is the most important court building in Belgium and the largest courthouse in the world.

It was built between 1866 and 1883 in the eclectic style by the celebrated architect Joseph Poelaert. The total cost of the construction, land and furnishings was somewhere in the region of 45 million Belgian francs. It is reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century. It is a notable landmark of Brussels.

In 1860, during the reign of Leopold I, a Royal decree announced the building of the Palace of Justice and an international architecture contest was organised for its design. The designs entered in the contest were found to be unacceptable and were thus rejected. The then minister of justice Tesch appointed Joseph Poelaert to design the building in 1861. The first stone was laid on October 31, 1866, and the building was inaugurated on October 15, 1883, four years after Poelaert’s death in 1879.

For the building of the Palace of Justice, a section of the Marollen neighbourhood was demolished, while most of the park belonging to the House of Merode was also expropriated. The 75 landlord owners of the houses, many of whom lived in their homes, received large indemnities, while the other inhabitants, about a hundred, were also forced to move by the Belgian government, though they were compensated with houses in the garden city “Tillens-Roosendael” in the municipality of Uccle, in the Quartier du Chat.

Poelaert himself lived in the Marollen neighbourhood in a house only a few hundred metres from the building, a house adjoining his vast offices and workshops. It is thus unlikely he saw himself as ruining the neighbourhood.

As a result of the forced relocation of so many people, the word architect became one of the most serious insults in Brussels.

The Palace’s location is on the Galgenberg hill, where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were hanged.

The building includes huge interior statues of Demosthenes and Lycurgus, by sculptor Pierre Armand Cattier, and figures of Roman jurists Cicero and Ulpian, by Antoine-Felix Bourr. Although the construction took place during the reign of Leopold II, he showed little interest in the building, and it’s not considered part of his extensive architectural program in Brussels or his legacy as the “Builder-King”.

The Brussels Palace of Justice is bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The building is currently 160 by 150 meters, and has a total built ground surface of 26,000 m2. The 104 meter high dome weighs 24,000 tons. The building has 8 courtyards with a surface of 6000 m2, 27 large court rooms and 245 smaller court rooms and other rooms. (Description form Wikipedia)

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Saint Hieronymus façade and bell tower of Calahorra Cathedral

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© RicardMN Photography

The Cathedral of Santa María is a catholic cathedral located in Calahorra, La Rioja, Spain.

Calahorra’s Cathedral is located outside the city, in its lowest part, close to the Cidacos’s riverbank. Its main façade is baroque. The tower is furnished with six bodies. Saint Hieronymus front, fusing both gothic and renaissance styles, breaks the austerity of the northern façade. Built in dressed stone, the style of the Cathedral is mainly Gothic, though the chancel displays certain influence from the Renaissance. Within the interior of the temple there are sixteen chapels contaning important pieces of art, among which their altarpieces, accomplished between the 16th and 18th century, can be highlighted.

The front of Saint Hieronymus breaks the artistic austerity of the northern façade by displaying a combination of great artistic quality fusing Gothic and Renaissance styles, including its Plateresque and Mannierist phases.

The front consists of two bodies which correspond to two different styles and periods, the upper one being the most ancient (gothic, 1520), while the lower one is of Renaissance style (year 1559).

The tympanum presides the door with a scene of the Coronation of the Virgin shielded by the images of Saint Emeterius and Saint Celedonius.

The door is also called “Graveyard Door”, for it gave entrance to the cemetery of the Cathedral in previous times. This explains the two Angels playing the trumpet which are there represented announcing the Resurrection of the Dead.

The second body, the oldest, is furnished with a series of slightly pointed archs which act as four archivolts shielding the tympanum and which lay directly over the entablature capping the first body. A rich decoration in relief is arranged between the archivolts and the tympanum, though the iconographic program of the front is mainly gathered in the figures of the exterior archivolt and the tympanum.

In the tympanum, over a neutral background, there is a ronde-bosse group forming a single scene (as was characteristic in hte last period of the Gothic) related to the Glory of the Virgin, who has the Martyr Saints, Emeterius and Celedonius, on Her side. The figures, simetrically ordered, are adapted to the gothic architecture of the frame. The Virgin, in the centre, being of greater size than the images of the Saints, stands out among the rest, thus emphasising She is the most important figure. This sculptoric convention was still a clear medieval reminiscence which influenced the lay-out of the composition.

The Virgin is sitting on Her throne, with the Child over Her left knee and an open book on the right, which She also holds with one hand, while the Child points at it with one of His fingers. Both images direct Their gazestowards the book. The Virgin is crowned by two adolescent angels whose tunics indicate their flying posture.

A scallop shell of Renaissance fashion, serving both as canony and as base for the music angel, is placed over the Virgin, thus reinforcing the idea of Glory conveyed by the group.

In the pointing keystone of the arch, just in the central axe of the composition, rests the image representing the Resurrection of Christ, who is standing, superimposed to the two archivolts in a radial direction, in front of the shrine. Apart from this figure, and as decreed by the canons of traditional gothic, there are six further Saints in the direction marked by the archs, three on each side of Christ, alternating with an equal number of angels.

The Saints are, from bottom to top and from left to right, Marguerite of Antioch, Catherine of Alexandria, Lucy, Elizabeth of Hungary, Perpetua and Felicity. (Description from catedralcalahorra.org).

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