Michelangelo in the Church of Our Lady Museum

OLV kerk museum
Michelangelo’s masterpiece Madonna and Child is at home in Bruges. The sculpture has been admired in the Church of Our Lady for hundreds of years. A unique artistic highlight in the historic heart of the city.

Madonna and Child

The Church of Our Lady in Bruges is the undisputed home of a masterpiece of the arts. There you can admire Madonna and Child, a sculpture by Italian grandmaster Michelangelo. This statue is in Bruges is very special. During his lifetime, the vast majority of his sculptures remained in Italy. The Bruges Madonna and Child is a rare exception.

This 128-centimetre high statue is made of luxurious marble from Carrara. The depiction of Mother and Child are anatomically realistic and detailed. The image combines a large number of groundbreaking elements. The Jesus child is depicted standing frontally, as a naked toddler. With much movement, he breaks away from his mother, as you can see from the pressed fabric of Mary’s robe. Other artists would not develop the technique to show this dynamism until a century later.

OLV kerk museum (c) Musea Brugge

The Mouscron family

We owe the fact that Bruges has its own Michelangelo to Jan and Alexander Mouscron. These two brothers were active in the international trading of English cloth. In this capacity, they travelled around Europe and also regularly visited Florence. Michelangelo’s brother was also active there in the textile trade. It is quite possible that the Mouscron brothers came into contact with the grandmaster via that route.

Ultimately, it was the Mouscrons who brought the statue to Bruges. The masterpiece was given a permanent place in the Church of Our Lady. There, it adorns the Mouscron altar, named after John and Alexander. That church is also their final resting place. The brothers and some of their relatives are buried under this altar.

Practical information

Church of Our Lady: Mariastraat, 8000 Bruges
More about opening hours, accessibility and other practical information can be found at Church of Our Lady