Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Research Trip to the Netherlands

In March 2014 Claudia Jung made her first study trip to the Netherlands, aiming to visit some rare extant Jerusalem monuments and collect primary and secondary material for her PhD research on visual translations of Jerusalem in the Low Countries.

Among the visited sites was the 'Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk', also known as the 'Grote Kerk', in the town of Breda. This church in the Brabantine Gothic style was built between the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries, while the town was ruled by the Counts of Nassau. Inside its magnificent interior can be found the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, completed in 1547.

Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, Claudia Jung

The Chapel is located in the northwest corner of the church and like its counterpart, the Baptistery Chapel in the southerst corner of the church, it has a central pentagonal ground plan. On the west wall of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, a lower entrance way leads into a small, six-sided chamber with a domed ceiling and an oculus. This echoes the Aedicule built above the Tomb of Christ inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Chapel at Gouda is a particularly interesting building. It was founded between 1497 and 1504, by the priest Gijsbrecht Raet after his safe return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Unlike the monument in Breda, this chapel does not form part of a church, but constitutes a building in itself, situated east of the town’s main church. Its ground plan is very striking. Originally, it consisted of a central-plan dodecagon that was connected to a rectangle. Most of the rectangular building part was demolished in the eighteenth century, but the twelve-sided building part is still extant almost in its original state. The ground plan again refers to the form of the Aedicule of the Holy Sepulchre.

Exterior view of the Jerusalem Chapel at Gouda, Claudia Jung

At Utrecht, Claudia visited the Dom Church, also known as St Martin's Cathedral. This impressive Gothic church of the earlier bishopric of Utrecht contains another very interesting and yet different Jerusalem monument.

Holy Sepulchre, Dom Church, Utrecht, Claudia Jung

In the middle arcade of the ambulatory running around the choir, back to back with the cathedral's high altar, you can visit a sandstone Holy Sepulchre of the 'wall recess type'. This dates to 1501. Constructed between two pillars of the choir and under a Gothic vaulted arch, a sarcophagus displays a now damaged effigy of the dead Christ:

Effigy of the dead Christ, Dom Church, Utrecht, Claudia Jung

 In the front of the sarcophagus are three niches with carved reliefs depicting the three soldiers at the tomb:

Detail of the Holy Sepulchre, Dom Church, Utrecht, Claudia Jung
In the spandrels, two small angels can be seen. Behind the tomb is a horizontal stone slab, on which sculptures of the Three Maries at the tomb may have been installed.

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