VOORT, Michiel van der, the Elder
(b. 1667, Antwerpen, d. 1737, Antwerpen)
After a fourteen-year stay in Rome, Michiel van der Voort returned to his native town, Antwerp. There, he specialized in carving pulpits decorated by figures and foliage, vivid and picturesque illustrations in sculpture of themes for sermons, handled with extravagant rhetoric. With an appeal to the senses intended to enhance the efficacy of religious eloquence, the sculptor here represents the dramatic conversion of St Norbert, who has fallen off his horse at the foot of the Crucified Christ, near a cave and a storm-tossed copse.
The pulpit was executed for the Church of the Norbertine Order in Mechelen and it found a new home in the Cathedral. Theodor Verhaegen (1701-1759), a follower of Faydherbe, is credited with the execution of the countless little animals and the rich foliage of the pulpit. The pulpit was completed by Jan Frans van Geel.