'A real Jordaens in Hoepertingen?' Indeed, a real Jordaens.'
Hoepertingen in Limburg has gained another landmark. None other than Flemish baroque painter Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678) put the finishing touches to the biblical scene Mary Visitation, which has graced the main altar of St Vedastus' church for centuries.
Castle, church and presbytery form the architectural heart of the village. Centrally located is St Vedastus Church, a sampling of stylistic features from different building periods. The flint stone tower is clearly Romanesque, the marl sandstone choir Gothic-Renaissance, the brick nave Classicist. In the beautiful interior with quite a few curiosities, the main altar stands out, more specifically the painting Maria Visitatie (1643). The pregnant Mary visits her cousin Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias. Despite her advanced age, Elisabeth is also pregnant. In the Gospel according to Luke, Mary answers the greeting by uttering the prayer Magnificat anima mea Dominum (High now my soul exalts the Lord). J. S. Bach, among others, later set it to music for orchestra, choir and soloists as the magnificent Magnificat, also called the Praise of Mary.
For art historian, professor and Jordaens connoisseur Joost Vander Auwera, there is no doubt that the canvas came from Jacob Jordaens' studio and that the master himself put the finishing touches to it. He often corrected pieces painted by his collaborators before they left the studio.