This sumptuously decorated church was built between 1491 and 1656 in an area
where in those day, the upper middelclass and aristocracy was living. To show their
wealth, they wanted a tower that would be higher than the one of the Our
Ladies Cathedral . After 55 metres, they had to give up this ambition, but this
explains the imposing base of the tower.
They had more success with the interiour of the church. You find more than 100 kinds of
marble, though to the eighteenth-century prefect from the Vatican, Cardinal Garampi,
said they ‘could scarcely have been worked more skillfully’. On the walls, you find
paintings from the most important painters from the city.
There are 23 altars.
Rubens thomb (the major attraction of this church anyway)lies
behind the main altar in the Chapel of Our Lady. The painting ‘Our Lady surrounded by
saints’ was painted by him for his burial monument. Experts have found out that it is
actually a family portrait with Rubens as St. George.