Old sculpture returned to Sablon church in Brussels


A sculpture from the 17th century has found its way back to the Church of Our Lady of Victories at the Sablon in Brussels.

Viewers can now admire Charity (Caritas) in its original setting, in the Sablon church. The sculpture was made by Brussels-born Baroque sculptor Jan van Delen in the second half of the 1600s, together with its twin, Truth (Veritas). It was later stolen when Belgium was under French occupation. 

The fully marble sculpture features charity personified as a woman, with two children: a boy in her lap and a girl standing at her feet. 

The work of art was rediscovered in 2012, in the foyer of a private residence in Paris, and was subsequently put up for auction at Christie's. It was then acquired by the King Baudouin Foundation and exhibited at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels. Now, Lady Charity has returned to where she was meant to be. 

Van Delen’s work can be admired in other places of worship as well. Look no further than Our Lady of the Chapel or Saints Michael and Gudula. He also contributed to the restoration of the Corporation of Haberdashers’ building, In den Vos, on the Grand’ Place. 

The statue’s return is the perfect reason to spend a day around the Sablon: a visit to the church to see Caritas, a coffee on one of the terraces, and why not a stroll through the Marolles?