church of Saint Paul

A brief description.


1. The Saint Paul's Church.

2. Three paintings by Pieter Paul Rubens.

3. Woodcarving Albert the Great by Willem Kerrickx de Oudere.

4. Copy La Madonna del Rosario by Carravaggio.


1. The Saint Paul's church.

The Dominicans were in Antwerp since 1243 and
built their priory in 1256. Albert the Great consecrated their St. Paul's church on  September 9, 1276. The start of the new priory and church in
late-gothic style
was in 1517 and were consecrated in 1571.
The Reformation destroyed the
uildings from 1578 till 1585, and
the Dominicans have to flight. They returned in 1585.
From 1608
till 1611 Michael Ophoviu
s (1570-04.11.1637), friend of Pieter Paul Rubens, was the prior of the priory; From 1611-1615 he was Provinical, and asgain prior of Antwerp since 1625.


On February 6th 1626 Isabella nominated Ophovius bishop of 's-Hertogenbosch, which nomination was confirmed by pope Urban VI on 22.06.1626. In this position Ophovius was closely involved in the attack of Frederik Hendrik on 's-Hertogenbosch on 17/18.06.1629. Many times he was called to the consultations of the Spanish magistrate and military governor with the defenders of the city and its besiegers. Led by the correct judgement that the city could not be defended, Ophovius pleaded for a capitulation to safe the soldiers, citizens, and the city from a bloodbath, destruction and fire-raising. So Ophovius was the first to sign the capitulation-treaty on 14.09.1629. He muast leave the city and was member of the priory of Lier where he died on 4 November, 1637. He was buried in the choir of the St Paul's church on 5 Bovember, 1638.

His memorial (ca 1635) is probably constructed by Hans van Mildert after a possibly design of P.P. Rubens. Ophovius was plausibly the mediator of the commission to Rubens for the painting the adoration of the shepherds which was finished in 1609/1610.


Ghana 1990, Mi 1460, Sc 1260. Portrait of Michael Ophovius, O.P. by P.P.Rubens.


But disaster struck here as well and on several occasions.

After the fire of 1679, a new baroque tower was built. The paintings were plundered in the French period but returned in 1815. Great damage was also done during the Belgian Revolution (1830). A fire from a neighbouring house catch the roof of the church at night of 2 to 3 April 1968. On that occasion, those living round about risked their lives to save many works of art from the fire. But the big painting of Rubens The adoration of the shepherds was so solidly attached to the wall that it was not to remove. Damaged by fire, smoke and water the painting is restored by the Belgian K.I.K.P. (Kunstpatrimonium). The church has been restored and the magnificent interior is again on view to the public. More than 50 paintings, more than 200 sculptures, splendid baroque altars and carved church furnishings which are some of the most beautiful in the world. Scores of Antwerp's masters are represented here : Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Francken, De Vos, Quellin, Kerrick, Verbruggen, Van Baurscheit, Van Mildert, etc.

The organ dates from the seventeenth-century but has
repeatedly been restored and enlarged.
It is one of the most important in the country.
In the garden
next to the church (corner
is a magnificent Calvary, consisting of 63 rock statues, and crowned with a crucified Jesus. The Calvary dates from

Belgium 1969. Antwerp, postmark
with the tower of the S.Paul’s Church in baroque-stile, 1680/81 of S. Paul's church by Nicolaas Millich.


2. The Paintings of Rubens in St. Paul's church.


In the S. Paul’s church are three paintings of Pieter Paul Rubens.


The first represents the Glorification of the Holy Eucharist and was painted in 1609-1610.
The second painting is the magnificent A
doration of the Shepherds .  Rubens painted this work shortly after his return from Italy to Antwerp, ca 1609. The influence of the Italian masters can be seen especially in the coloration.
The third painting is
The Flagellation of Christ. It forms a part of a series of panels, which represent the '15 Mysteries of the Rosary'. It was painted around 1617. Other paintings of this series come from Anton van Dijck and Jacob Jordaens.

Many post office departments issued stamps of  these Rubens paintings.



Adoration of the shepherds.


Rubens painted this work shortly after his return from Italy to Antwerp, ca. 1609.
Details of this work are used for the christmas stamps of many countries.


Angel (one of the putti) with text
bonae voluntatis:

Niue 1988, Mi 737, Sc 564.


The head of a shepherd:
Belgium 1976, Mi 1860, Sc B 944.


Some shepherds:
Niue 1988, Mi 738; Sc 565.




Our Lady with the Christchild, the central part of the painting:


Bahamas 2001, Mi 1096, sc 1029.

Cook Islands 1981, Mi 802, Bl 118; Sc B94.

Cook Islands 1981, Mi 810, Bl 121; Sc 671, 675.
Liberia 1984, Mi 1302, Sc 996.
Niue 1988, Mi 739, 740; Sc 566, 567.

Rwanda 1977, Mi 913, Bl 83; Sc 848.
Sierra Leone 1988, Mi 1143, 1145;  
Sc 1014, 1016.

Togo 1981, Mi 1566, Sc 1127.                       





NB 1

Venezuela published a painting by P.P.Rubens The adoration of the
but in an other version.
The composition, the colours and the persons are different from
the other paintings which the same name.


Venezuela 1980, Mi 2167, Sc 1242.


NB  2

There is another Rubens painting Adoration of  the shepherds,1608,
oil on canvas, 300 x 192 cm with the same construction, but also
differents.So the Christchild has an aureole. , and the position of the

Child is changed.

Rubens worked in Italy from 1600 to 1608 before returning to Antwerp.
This masterpiece, commissioned for the church of San Filippo in Fermo,
tes from the last year of his stay, while he was working in Rome for the Congregation of St. Philip Neri, and is one of his finest works from this period.
It is preserved in the Pinacoteca Civica of Fermo (Italy).

Niger 1976, Mi 555, Sc C280.  




The  flagellation of  Christ.


In the series 15 mysteries of the Rosary, in the north
side-aisle of the church, Rubens painted The flagellation of Christ  between 1614 and 1617.

Detail of the flagellation of Christ. 1614-1617. The large panel
belongs to a series of fifteen, dedicated to the mysteries of the rosary.

Gambia 1989, Mi 844, Sc 817.






3. The woodcarving Albertus Magnus
by Willem Kerricx de Oude


Willem (Guillielmus) Kerricx, born in Dendermonde July 22, 1652, was apprenticed to the Guild of St Luke in Antwerp, becoming a master in 1674.
He produced numerous works for the churches of Antwerp, including two elegant marble reliefs of Our Lady of the Rosary (1688) for St Paulus's and, in collaboration with Henricus-Franciscus Verbrugghen, a superb communion bench (marble, 1695) for St Jacob's.


It seems likely that between about 1702 and 1709 he worked abroad, possibly in England. Dating from the later part of his career are two carved confessionals (wood, 1711) for the Premonstratensian Abbey of Grimbergen, near Brussels, and the funerary monuments of Abbot C.-F. de Fourneau and Abbot A.-C. de Pallant (both marble, 1714–15; Leuven, St Gertrudis).

Kerricx also executed the high altar for St Gertrudis (marble; destr. World War II). 
Willem Kerricx died in Antwerp June 22,1719.



Bishop Albert the Great.

Woodcarving by Willem Kerricx (02.07.1652-22.06.1719) for the confessional in the Paul's
church in Antwerp.

Belgium 1969, Mi 1539, Sc 676.










4. Copy of La Madonna del Rosario by Carravagio.


Central part of the painting La Madonna del Rosario by Carravagio

(28.09.1573-18.07.1610), oil on canvas, 364 x 249 cm, 1604/05.

Through the agency of P.P. Rubens in 1608, the Dominicans acquired 
this painting in 1617.

Emperor Jozef II transported it to Vienna in 1786, where it is
exposed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

A copy of Caravaggio’s opus by A,B, de Quertemont (1750-1835)
is now placed above the altar in the chapel of the Rosary.


Saint Lucia 1977, Mi 423, Sc 429.





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