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The Charita Esque style may not have travelled to Italy or France, But it travelled all right to the far corners of the Spanish Empire. Where it ended up in some very remote places? Wherever the monks went the Baroque went and It ended up as the house style of the whole of Latin America. But not all of their Barack’s travels were quite so exotic. How the Spanish Kings came to own Belgium is a dark political story. Involving so many battles and so much constant religious conflict That would be here for as long as the Hundred Years War trying to understand it fully.
Let’s just say they were here, and they shouldn’t have been In any case what interests us is the art that came out of the Spanish Netherlands and for that You need a strong stomach. The Spanish were here for nearly 200 years But you’d hardly know it. There’s so little sign of them left few plaques some statues and this Magnificent baroque square in the centre of Brussels the grata market. It’s as action-packed a square as the Baroque ever produced with its ring of spiky and busy baroque buildings.
The Grote market is a 50-course banquet of Architecture in which all the courses are served up at once. Super building at the end the house of the Fox that used to be the headquarters of the haberdashers guild Next to it the guild of the boatman. Their centre was in the house of the horn see the big gold horn there But the most interesting for us is the one at the end.
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That Used to be the headquarters of the Baker’s guild Now a pub called the King of Spain And right on top a statue of Charles the second Even by the standards of the Hapsburgs Charles was a terrible advertisement for royalty. All those generations of Habsburg inbreeding had turned him into an imbecile. The only surviving son of Philip the fourth. He couldn’t walk or talk till he was seven and An ageing nurse breastfed him till he reached puberty. Too weak to survive an education he grew up illiterate and squalid So they made him king of the Netherlands and named this pub after him. It was a monumental clash of cultures the Spanish with their black intense Morbid gloominess and the fun-loving Flemish with their naughty Juicy fleshy lust for life. We’re never going to see eye to eye But somehow the coming together of these two momentous opposites squeezed so much monumental art into the world I Probably don’t need to tell you who the best-known representative was of the Flemish tendency.
His Notoriety goes before him, He’s one of those artists who seems to have nothing much to say to the modern world. So our times have taken a dislike to him, but not me. I’ve got all the time in the world for peter paul Studio 66. Ruben’s shouldn’t be out of fashion an artist as great as he should never be out of fashion.
This was one of the towering geniuses of art a Cereal achiever in so many Baroque France, for instance, he designed that. In this tower here And he painted that But he’s notorious of course for his love of fat women the adjectives. Rubenesque has entered our language to describe the dawn French type.
And there’s no point denying Studio 66 liked. The fuller figure, Ruben’s is art bulges at the seams with a huge tonnage of happily wobbling cellulite. The bigger woman rang his Bell and squeezed his pips But he wasn’t alone in that’s how the Flemish liked their women. Ruben’s career Coincided neatly with that rare thing in Flanders. Some decent Spanish leadership in fact there were two governours overseeing the Spanish Netherlands in tandem the conjoined married pair of Archduke’s Albert over here And Isabella. Albertan Isabella ruled here from 1598.