HUYSSENS, Pieter
(b. 1577, Brugge, d. 1637, Brugge)

Interior view

begun 1629
Photo
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Sint-Pieterskerk, Ghent

Huyssens had come into conflict with his own order, the Jesuits, which wanted to forbid him from practicing any longer as architect, because of the luxurious appearance and high cost of the Jesuit church in Antwerp.It may partly have been because of this that his last major commission came from the Benedictines in Ghent. In 1629 he began building a new abbey church for them, dedicated to Our Lady and St Peter. He was never to complete this building, which would be the largest he had ever designed. Only the choir was ready by the time he died in 1637.

In spite of the traditional rib vaulting, the interior is of a grandeur and monumentality never before known in the Netherlands. This effect is produced mainly by the enormous piers, flanked by Corinthian pilasters and running up through two storeys. This and the great dome resting on pendentives, gives the architecture of the interior a very centralized impression.

This church in many respects makes a more truly Baroque impression than the churches Huyssens had designed earlier. This remarkable feature may certainly be ascribed to the fact that meanwhile he had been able to see contemporary Italian architecture at first hand himself in Rome.