Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Charles the Bold

This is the big day. We finally got to to see the Charles the Bold exhibit that I have wanted to come back for since I found out about it last December when we were on the Rhine cruise. And it was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I'm not sure I can begin to describe the exhibit, room after room of beautiful objects, paintings, remarkable tapestries, fantastic animations that explained tournaments, how tapestries were used in a castle, objects in the treasury in the Hofburg in Vienna. There were wonderful manuscripts and fabrics. The account books for the households, even just the small amount you could see, really show the enormous size of the court. And the curators were very good at pointing out Charles' influence in other courts, especially that of Maximilian, although there was nothing about the English connection, which was kind of surprising since there were various objects connected to Margaret of York. And this leads to a question. The portraits were very interesting but the one of Margaret shows her with a necklace of white and red roses and states that they were the Yorkist symbols. But red was the Lancastrian rose. So why did her necklace have both?

The historical background and quotes were helpful although I found at least one error, but that is just a quibble since it could so easily be a typo. And with so many magnificent things brought together, the viewer can only be thankful the exhibit came about. For example, it is hard to believe that beautiful manuscripts would be created just for military orders. Taking in all of that in one gulp is a lot. I am glad that I have the catalog. But being in Bruges gave us an extra advantage over Bern and Vienna because the tombs of Charles the Bold and Mary of Burgundy are here inthe Church of Our Lady and are included in the exhibit so you walk over to the church at the end and see the tombs and various other materials that are also related to the exhibit.

I am really grateful that Peter was willing to come back to Bruges as part if our trip this summer so I could see this.

The other thing we did besides just walking around a lot was to take the canal boat cruise. It was nice although I would have liked something a bit slower and longer. The motorboats go rather quickly and taking pictures is difficult. But it was a pleasant half hour.

Tonight we went to a typical restaurant just on the Jan van Eyck Square by the Porters' Lodge and I had braised rabbit, a poached pear with cranberries, and a very good dark Belgian Abbey ale that was very spicy. A very good way to end a very good day.

The weather turned sunny and warm this afternoon. So we have been lucky in that regard.

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