Antwerp, Churches and Tourism
Tourism Pastoral, Diocese of Antwerp (TOPA vzw)

The Antwerp jesuit church, a revelation.

The organ

The original organ did not survive the 1718 fire and about 1720 the present organ was installed.

Preferably works of art are linked with famous names, but there is not a single indication justifying the 19th century attribution to J.B. Forceville. There is more reason to put forward the name of the Malines organ builder Carolus Dillen, who a few years before had built the organ of the Malines Jesuit church. In big organs, it is common practice to position the positive organ separately in front, but here the central, small positive organ has been set in line with both parts of the big organ. This makes it look like a big wall organ with its widely spread organ front.

The organ case was made by Jan Pieter I van Baurscheit, but a part of the woodcarving has been restored (read: ‘renewed’) several times. There are trophies with innumerable instruments against the organ wall, while on the crowning on top there is an angel beating time with a baton and other angels playing music live on trumpet, violin, contrabass, lute and triangle – formerly there were also a flute and a trombone. The two traditional figures for church music flank the organ case. On the left, there is King David in elegant costume, singing the psalms (of which he is the alleged author) and accompanying himself on a harp [his right fingers and the harp have disappeared]. On the right there is Saint Cecilia, who – according to her hagiographers – “only sang for God while [pagan dance-] music was sounding”. Singing (open mouthed) from a hymnbook in her hand, she exemplarily stimulates the singers on the rood loft stand to praise God. Because of an erroneous translation in the Middle Ages, namely “while she was playing the organ”, she became the patron of organ music and church music in general. This time, and most exceptionally, her attribute is not a positive organ, but high pipes resting on the spandrel of a contemporary organ. As a martyr, she is holding a [broken] palm in her hand.