The Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage, attributed to the Flemish architect Lucas Faydherbe, this building is a notable illustration of the Italian-influenced Flemish Baroque style of the 17th century. The church was part of the béguinage Notre-Dame de la Vigne of Brussels (an architectural complex which formerly housed beguines, lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world).
The Beguines were lay women who lived a communal life but were not bound by perpetual vows. Three court Beguinages existed in Brussels but the first and largest court Beguinage was the Béguinage de Notre-Dame de la Vigne which was founded before 1247 outside the city walls.
Located near today's place du Beguinage, the community composed a miniature village of individual dwelling with a mill, laundry, and flower and vegetable garden enclosed within a wall. The Beguines built an infirmary and a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Vineyard served as a place of worship.
Because their community had grown to 1200 beguines at the end of the 13th century, a larger Gothic church was built at the same location where the present-day building is located. The women engaged in weaving wool and, from the 16th century onward, in making lace. From the start the Rue du Béguinage ormed the main axis of this large triangular domain of which the Rue de Laeken formed the base. The area between rue de Laeken and Quai au Bois à Brûler was known as the Beguinage quarter during the Middle Ages.
The Beguines were dispersed in 1797 during the French regime. The grounds were parceled out gradually and streets laid out. The infirmary was renovated and transformed into the Hospice Pacheco.
The previous church was a Gothic building with 3 naves and a transept that was destroyed by calvinists in 1584 during the Calvinist Republic of Brussels which lasted from 1577 to 1585. The Beguines decided to rebuild their church in Baroque style and its construction started in 1657. Attributed to the Flemish architect Lucas Faydherbe, this church is a notable illustration of the Italian-influenced Flemish Baroque style of the 17th century. Its façade is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Belgium. The church was restored after it was ravaged by a fire in November 2000.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.