Une église haute en couleurs
A church full of lights
Between the end of the 11th and the end of the 12th century, the collegiate church of 1015 was completely rebuilt from East to West from a large exterior crypt which has now disappeared. The front of the building, which houses the second religious choir and two interesting tribunes, was completed in 1188. Until the middle of the 18th century, the collegiate church was entered through two lateral entrances.
In the 14th century, important interior alterations took place which are not well known. The black and white marble tombstone of the founder of the collegiate church was moved to the middle of the transept where it can still be seen.
In the 18th century, the structure and decoration of the building were modernized in order to adapt it to the Baroque style: the vaulting of the choir was raised, the transept and the naves were vaulted, two small side naves were added, the counter-choir in the westbau was removed and a large portal was built (the exterior frame of which was preserved during the restoration).
From 1999 to 2006, the great campaign of internal and external restoration of the building restores the original polychromy of the facades, and in the westbau, restores the elevation of the counter-choir and closes the opening that the eighteenth century had made there.
The flamboyant altarpiece of the choir
The monumental red and gold altarpiece of the choir was created by the Liège sculptor Cornelis Van der Veken (1657 – 1742) who multiplied the bluffing trompe-l’oeil. It serves as a sumptuous setting for a painting by Englebert Fisen (1655 – 1733), a painter from Liège and one of his friends, signed and dated 1708. The painting illustrates the martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, flayed alive by his executioners while he was evangelizing the people of southern Armenia. The arrangement and postures of the numerous characters give movement and impetus to the scene and reinforce the dynamics animating the altarpiece.