Category Archives: de Larabrie

Brussels in the 19th century: 1889

In the year 1889 Jozef De Veuster, best known as “Father Damien” or Saint Damien of Molokai dies of leprosy on April 15, 1889, aged 49. He was chosen by the Flemish, in 2005, the “greatest Belgian” of all times.

Two of the pictures I am showing in this post relate architect Ernest Georges de Labrarie. They are about a house in the Rue de la Source / Bronstraat. But in Brussels he is known because he designed a very special burial vault (a kind of temple) for Léonce Evrard (a  Brussels artist in marble) and his wife, Louise Flignot. This hexagonal temple is located near the Rodin’s Thinker, in the cemetery of Laeken.

What makes this burial place peculiar is that inside, on the wall, a female mourner stretches her arm, pointing upwards to something invisble. This “mystery” is solved at the summer solstice – and a few days before and days after the 21st of June.   At solar noon, around 11 h 40, the sun penetrates through a round opening in the roof of the small temple, showing, at the juncture of two walls inside, a heart, right where the mourner is pointing to. Here is the link to a blog with a picture of the “heart”.  The post includes a picture of the temple.  And at least two “châteaux”, Beauregard (Jemelle) and Mont-Rival (Rochefort), were designed by de Larabrie, though I am not sure they still exist.

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