In addition to the beautiful building of the Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule in Brussels, they have some lovely art that I thought I would share. For me, the virgin and infant shown above is one of the most delicate and evocative portraits I have seen. I must admit to spending time in front of this sculpture and being moved when I left. I resolved to do some research on Conrad Meit and I found a quite interesting story. As court sculptor to Margaret of Austria in Mechelen beginning in 1514, Conrad Meit (1470-1550) was a major proponent of the Renaissance style, noted for his fusion of German realism and Italian idealism. Also his introduction of the secular bust, which emerged in Northern Europe only around 1500 makes him a seminal figure in the history of sculpture and art collecting in the tradition of the Kunstkammer (cabinet of art and marvels). Both Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder appreciated the work of Meitner Conrat (Conrad Meit). On his journey to the Netherlands, Dürer (who may have known the sculptor from Wittenberg) dined with Meit several times. In his diary, he referred to Meit as, “The good carver named Conrad, whose equal I've never seen, who serves the Emperor's daughter Margaret”. This is one of his larger sculptures at about 25 inches in height.
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen in Dutch, is a glazed glass shopping arcade in Brussels. It is divided into three parts, the Galerie de la Reine, the Galerie du Roi and the small Galerie des Princes. Construction started in 1846, it lasted for 18 months, and the 213 meter passage was inaugurated in 1847 by King Leopold and his two sons. In 1845 the Société named the three sections of the new passage the Galerie du Roi, Galerie de la Reine and Galerie du Prince. The ensemble, called the Passage Saint-Hubert has borne its present name since 1965. In the middle of the 19th century, the Saint-Hubert Galleries were the longest, highest (8 meters), best decorated and best lit galleries in the world, thanks to the enormous arched glass-paned roof with a delicate cast-iron framework which is 200 meters long (in two sections). It offered the luxury of outdoor cafés in Brussels' inclement climate, in an ambiance of luxury retailers that brought to Brussels the true feel of a European capital.