The St. Peter's Church of Leuven


The collegiate St. Peter's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Leuven, built in the Brabant Gothic style. The building of the church took place in the course of the 15th century by a number of famous late Gothic architects, including Sulpitius van Vorst, Jan II Keldermans and Matthijs de Layens. Although the church was built until the 17th century, the Saint Peter's church remained unfinished, the two west towers in particular have never reached their full height.

Picture by Harry Fabel
The church suffered badly during the First World War. She fell victim to a fire that cost her the roof. The baroque roof rider of the Namur architect Denis-Georges Bayar was also destroyed. The church was also bombed during the Second World War. Many church treasures were lost during those both wars.

Picture by Harry Fabel
Inside the Saint Peter's church you can find among others art masterpieces, the famous triptych by Dirk Bouts "The Last Supper". This triptych dates from the 15th century and underwent a thorough restoration from 1996 to 1998. Until September 2018, the masterpiece was in the M-Treasury of Saint Peter's. From September 2019, the Saint Peter's Church will open with a new museum arrangement and the painting will return to its original location.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Around 1435 Rogier van der Weyden painted his world-famous Descent from the Cross in Leuven, which now hangs in the Prado in Madrid and whose side panels are missing. The work, in which ten figures express their intense emotions against a golden background, is immediately considered a great masterpiece.

Barely eight years later, an unknown, presumably also a Leuven painter makes for the Leuven patrician Willem Edelheere this sharply reduced but fairly faithful copy, the oldest in a long line. It is intended for the altar of the family burial chapel in the choir of St Peter's Church. The differences literally emphasize the greatness of Van der Weyden. This "flat" copy, for example, lacks the masterful impression of depth in the original. But the fact that it is still hanging in Leuven is extremely important for our collective memory. At one time the work served as a coat rack and later it was offered for sale at the flea market ...

Picture by Harry Fabel
You can find the St. Peter's Church at this address: Grote Markt 1, Leuven.