Bruges, Belgium

Church of Our Lady – Virgin with the Infant Jesus (1501), Michelango Buonarroti

May 1982

Hi

Happy May Day. It is cold and rainy. This statue is just unbelievably beautiful, done when Michelangelo was 26 yrs old!! This little city is lovely with such pretty bldgs with nice little windows. We did 4 churches, the city hall and lace factory yesterday. Will do a canal trip in the cold today.

Love, Va

Michelangelo did the Pieta, below, two years earlier (at 24 years old). Here, Mary is with the 33 year old Jesus. It is very similar, she is very similar.

Pieta, Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican

The one in Bruges was the first work of his to leave Italy during his lifetime. Wealthy merchants bought it for 4,000 florins (not sure what that means but I’m guessing it’s a lot). The sculpture left Belgium twice after that. The first time it was sent to France in 1794, during the French Revolutionary Wars but was returned after Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1815. The second was in 1944, when German soldiers smuggled it out in a Red Cross truck. It was discovered in Austria a year later and returned.

Below is a postcard of the Church of Our Lady in Bruges where the Virgin of the Infant Jesus can be found.

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