Saint Carolus Borromeus church

St Charles Borromeo church
Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk

The Baroque front on the Hendrik Conscienceplein.
51°13′15.8″N 4°24′16.1″E / 51.221056°N 4.404472°E / 51.221056; 4.404472Coordinates: 51°13′15.8″N 4°24′16.1″E / 51.221056°N 4.404472°E / 51.221056; 4.404472
Location Antwerp
Country Belgium
Denomination Catholic
Former name(s) St Ignatius Loyola
Founder(s) Jacobus Tirinus
Dedication St Charles Borromeo
Dedicated 1779 (rededication)
Consecrated 1625
Status parish church (since 1803)
Heritage designation protected monument (built heritage)
Designated 1939
Architect(s) Pieter Huyssens,
François d'Aguilon
Style Baroque
Years built 1615-1621
Completed 1626
Closed 1773
Spire height 58 metres (190 ft)
Diocese Antwerp

The St.-Carolus Borromeuskerk is a church in Antwerp, located on Hendrik Conscience square. The church was formerly known for 39 ceiling pieces by Rubens that were lost in a fire when it was struck by lightning on 18 July 1718.


The church was inspired by the Church of the Gesu, the mother church of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order also known as the Jesuits.[1] It was the first church in the world to be dedicated to the Jesuit founder, Ignatius Loyola.

Rubens ceiling paintings

In 1617-1618 Rubens painted two altarpieces. He was also commissioned to paint the ceiling pieces, for which he made the designs while the execution was done mostly by pupils, including Anthony van Dyck.[2] A contract was drawn up in 1620 by Jacobus Tirinus and the paintings were delivered a year later in time for the consecration.[2] Rubens received 7,000 guilders for his works in the church, and though the lavish decorations including sculptures and other artwork were well received, Tirinus was dismissed in 1625 for going beyond his budget.[2]

18th century

In 1718 the vault of the ship, including Rubens' ceiling paintings, was destroyed by fire. Jan Pieter van Baurscheidt the Elder restored the damaged parts according to the original plan, but replaced the original coffers with wide transverse arches. In 1773 the Society of Jesus was suppressed and the building was confiscated. It reopened in 1779, renamed St.-Carolus Borromeuskerk, after Charles Borromeo.

19th century

Since 1803 the St.-Carolus Borromeuskerk has been in use as a parish church.[1] During the Dutch reign preceding Belgium's independence in 1830 the baroque interior was sobered to make it a Protestant church.

1980s restoration

Church interior.

A restoration campaign in the 1980s brought back the churches baroque splendor. Besides works by Rubens the interior displays paintings by Gerard Seghers, Daniel Seghers, and Cornelis Schut.[1]

20th century

On 30 August 2009 fire broke out again, but none of the important artworks were damaged.[3]


  1. 1 2 3 Sint-Carolus Borromeuskerk, Sodaliteit en Professenhuis at the Belgian heritage register (Dutch)
  2. 1 2 3 Rubens: A Genius at Work : the Works of Peter Paul Rubens in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium reconsidered. by Joost Vander Auwera, Sabine van Sprang, Véronique Bücken, Arnout Balis, Nora De Poorter, Nico van Hout, Christine Van Mulders, Michèle Van Kalck and by members of the Rubens project team (Hélène Dubois, Natasja Peeters, Bert Schepers and Tine Meganck).
  3. Lichtspots oorzaak van brand Carolus Borromeuskerk (Spotlights cause fire in Carolus Borromeuskerk),, September 20, 2009 (Dutch)
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/16/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.