© Copyright 2000 Invicta Media Last updated 18th March
Typical elaborate wood screen behind
the altar, using paintings and statues to convey a powerful
Baroque altar screens
These colourful screens were part of the religious revival
that swept the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century,
when it finally woke up to the fact of the Reformation and
the threat of protestants breaking away. Such decoration
behind the altar was not new, but the exhuberant form of it
was a fashionable craze - every church had to
have a lavish elaborate wooden screen with pillars,
paintings and 3-D statues.
Emotional religious message
Church leaders hoped that vivid art, carrying a simple,
powerful message would stir pious emotions in ordinary
worshippers. They decorated churches with art representing
Christ, the saints and scenes from the Bible. The altar was
the focus of attention during a service
The over-the-top style in
architecture and decoration was termed baroque,
which was meant at the time as a criticism.
The Catholic church finally woke up to the problems exposed
by the Protestants. The Pope called the "Council of Trent"
to discuss reform. Many people said the Church was "out of
touch" with the people. Bishops and clergy were often
corrupt, living too well. Unlike the Protestant churches
they kept the bible and services in Latin.
Church at Esquelbecq.
Church at West-Cassel.
A concert in front of one of the area's famous
Many new churches were built called
hall-kirks, with three naves to bring the
congregation closer to the priest and the altar. It was all
part of the revival of the catholic church, tackling the
corruption and abuses of the Middle Ages.