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Chorographia sacra Brabantiae - Anthonius Sanderus

Brussels, Belgium

Organisation: Schleiper Art Gallery

Original antique engravings of churches, abbeys and monasteries in the Province of Brabant in the seventeenth century
The second edition of Anthonius Sanderus' Chorographia Sacra Brabantiae, published in 1726-1727 in The Hague, consists of three parts. Each volume contains some twenty engravings, detailed monochrome prints of abbeys, churches and monasteries in bird's eye view. The illustrations almost all cover a double page and measure approximately 35 × 48 cm.
Antoon Sanders (15 September 1586, Antwerp - 10 January 1664, Affligem), known by his Latinised name Anthonius Sanderus, was a Brabant poet, philosopher, canon, theologian and historian. The author left us about forty works in Latin, of which the most famous is his Chorographia sacra Brabantiae sive celebrium in ea provincia ecclesiarum et coenobiorum descriptio, imaginibus aeneis illustrata, first published in Brussels in 1659 by Philippe Vleurgaert and a second time in The Hague in 1726 by Christian van Lom.
A chorograph, from the Ancient Greek χῶρος, chôros, land, place and from γραφία, graphía, writing, description, corresponds to a region-by-region description of the world, with the aim of representing the diversity of the earth. It is a regional geography of existing places, as opposed to a geography that focuses on a more global description of the earth.
The Chorography of Anthonius Sanderus describes the churches and monasteries of the then Spanish province of Brabant and illustrates them with copper engravings. This work was found in many abbey and castle libraries and the engravings are nowadays very much appreciated for their detailed depiction of completely or partially disappeared buildings. The Chorography is part of the spirit of the Counter-Reformation and the glorification of the Catholic Church under the protection of secular power.
To compile his work, Sanderus called on local informants, such as priests, abbots and other intellectuals, to whom he sent lists with questions about the history of the foundation of these ecclesiastical institutions, about miracles that had occurred, the presence of relics, and the specific hagiographies of each place. He researched the ecclesiastical dignitaries who had left their mark on the history of the places, collected topographical data and also information on the local fauna and flora.
The plates for this second edition were entrusted to engravers and were often based on the work of painters and illustrators. The engravers included Jean-Baptiste Berterham, Renier Blokhuysen, David Coster and Jacobus Harrewijn.
Text by Hélène Lecocq.
Given the size of the exhibition, this event will take place in two locations.
Venue: Schleiper Art Gallery, Chaussée de Charleroi 149 and Rue de l'Étang 75, Brussels