The Sint Anna Church
The Gothic hall church, very simple from the outside, surprises its visitors with Baroque splendour on the inside. Here is also the largest painting of Bruges.
The Sint Anna church is a single-nave church from the 17th century. It replaced a Gothic church that was located on the same site. At that time, the church was located outside the second city wall. Today, the late Gothic lancet windows still bear witness to the temporary church that preceded the church of St. Anne. The present hall church, also built in Gothic style, was consecrated in 1624. It has a slender gable tower made of brick.
From the outside, the building appears rather plain, but inside there is a rich baroque interior. This is due to numerous donations from wealthy Bruges citizens. The floor is made of dark and white marble, also the rood screen is made of this stone. On the walls there are numerous filigree carvings and there are oak panels with integrated confessionals. The columned high altar was created in 1664 by the Bruges sculptor Cornelius Gailaert. The building also houses a group of 17th century figures depicting Saint Anne and the infant Jesus. The figures wear robes from the time when what is now Belgium was under Spanish rule. The church also houses several important paintings. Among them is the altarpiece from 1769 by the rococo painter Jan Garemijn, showing Mary being instructed by her mother, Saint Anne. The largest painting in Bruges is also housed in this church. The “Last Judgement” by Hendrik Herregouts is one hundred square metres in size.
On May 1, 1830, the Bruges poet Guido Gezelle, who was born in the same year and lived until 1899, was baptized in the baptistery. He also received his priestly ordination in the church of Sint Anna. In the baptistery there is a chalice-shaped baptismal font, which was created in 1630 by J.J. Cock. On top of it is a gilded baptismal cover. This was made by the coppersmith Hans Heyndericx.