Jan Fabre sculpture unveiled in Antwerp Cathedral


In the first purchase for its permanent art collection in 100 years, Antwerp Cathedral has unveiled a Jan Fabre sculpture of a man holding a crucifix

Cross to bear

Antwerp Cathedral has inaugurated “The Man Who Bears the Cross”, a bronze sculpture by Jan Fabre of a man (who looks very much like the artist) balancing a massive crucifix in the palm of his right hand. The work stands in a prominent spot in the cathedral, which has made it part of its permanent collection.

The sculpture was first exhibited last year in the exhibition The Spiritual Sceptic in Antwerp’s At The Gallery. The work represents “a quest for balance, for equilibrium,” Fabre said last year when the work premiered. “Do we believe in God, or don’t we? The cross on his arm is a symbol of that question.” 

The cathedral has no other contemporary art, but Father Bart Paepen was taken with the piece when he saw it last year at the exhibition. “In acquiring the sculpture, we are continuing the traditional relationship between the church and the arts,” said Paepen in a statement, “because we are convinced that art challenges one to believe.”

A new book, Jan Fabre: The Man Who Bears the Cross, has been published for the occasion in English, Dutch and French. A bronze and wax version of the sculpture is also on view at At the Gallery from 20 November to 10 January.