Royal Monastery of Brou

The monastery at Brou ( Église Saint -Nicolas -de- Tolentino de Brou, also Monastère royal de Brou ) of the Augustinian Order is a large building in the late Gothic period in the city of Bourg -en- Bresse in southeastern France. Because of its harmonious overall design, the window with interesting historical and religious scenes, the tombs inside the church, and especially because of its unique stone carvings Brou is a building of the highest artistic and historical place.


In 1504 died the 24 -year-old Duke Philibert II of Savoy, also called Philibert the Fair, the result of a hunting accident. His wife, Margaret of Austria brunette then let the small monastery in Brou expand to a large abbey and a grave for laying Philibert.

The church and monastery were built in the 16th century. Although Margaret resided far from the court of Mechelen in the Netherlands, she looked after personally by the construction and employed builder, glass artists, wood sculptors and stonemasons. The building owner had the church in the current late-Gothic style building. Since that time already would have been possible and the classicizing style of the Renaissance, people used to want to see the expression of a conservative stance on this style choice. In reality, the gothic style was then, however, in contrast to the rediscovered antique style regarded as the modern. In the factory we took the latest contemporary developments as they were maintained in the Netherlands and France. To correct old, negative value judgments, we now speak more frequently in cases of Renaissance Gothic.


Facade and roof

The three-stage structured main facade is richly decorated with flamboyant ornamentation of plant structures and sculptures. In the arch of the main portal are grouped at the foot of the suffering Saviour, the founder Margarete and her husband Philibert the Fair, and the center post of St.. Nicholas of Tolentino, which the church is dedicated. In the garb one recognizes the Saints Peter and Paul. About the keel arch of the entrance in freestanding sculpture is St. Andrew, the patron saint of Burgundy, to see with the St. Andrew's cross.

The roof is covered in the " Burgundian " style of the region with polychrome glazed bricks in large-scale geometric ornaments.

West facade

Tympanum of the Renaissance main portal

East side

Interior of the church

The choir of the bright, three-aisled basilica is separated by a magnificent, intricately crafted rood screen from the nave. On the railing of the rood screen are the figures of six saints, including the name saint of the church, Nicholas of Tolentino. The rood screen was used as a spatial separation between clergy and laity and at the same time as a gallery for the Duchess.

Input of the choir is located on both sides of a richly carved choir stalls of the artist Pierre Berchon illustrating scenes from the New left and right scenes from the Old Testament.

In the rear part of the choir is the main eye-catcher: the tombs of Margaret of Bourbon, of Margaret of Austria and of Philibert the Fair. The tomb of Margaret of Bourbon on the right side wall is made entirely in the classic gothic style: not the individuality of the person is worked out, and anatomic and physiognomic details are not important. Rather, the sculptural ornament is placed in the foreground, the diverse forms of refraction, the rich folds of the clothes: It is a typical Gothic draped figure.

Ribbed vaults of the transept

Nave with choir screen

Stone rood screen


Choir stalls

Tomb of Philibert the Fair

Putte on the Tomb of Philibert the Fair

Tomb of Margaret of Bourbon

Tomb of Margaret of Austria

Lower reclining figure, corpse of Margaret of Austria

Chapel of Margaret, altar

Quite different bodies set up by Conrat Meitner graves of Margaret of Austria and Philibert. Meitner solves each of the lower, usually block-like catafalque into a loose, surrounded by ornate pillars cavity. He uses the resulting extra space to a masterful anatomical and portrait-like juxtaposition: In the lower cavity, the figure of a nearly naked man with youthful facial features is. It provides the body Philibert represents the figure on top of the grave plate, however, shows the same person, but alive and how she would have looked like if she had survived to advanced manhood. It is clear that the same face, but now aged, thick cheeks and the corners of his mouth drawn down somewhat. The body is here fully clothed with splendor armor and ermine, and equipped with all the trappings of the ducal dignity.

Accordingly, the magnificent baldachin tomb of Margaret of Austria in the catafalque below shows a young woman who died and above the same woman at the age of about 50 years. The lower deck figure is clearly identified as a corpse, then on the right side of the body between the long curly hair, the arms are shown in decaying condition.

The art historian Thorsten Droste believes that the originality and the artistic level of these works provide a native of Worms Conrat Meitner on a par with Albrecht Dürer and that Meitner was completely wrong so little known.

The chapel of Margaret of Austria borders on the north by the choir and is decorated especially rich. There are benches made of white alabaster and black marble, polychrome decorations of the keystones. The large glass windows with Assumption is inspired by Dürer and the upper frieze of the " Triumph of Faith" by Titian. A monumental Alabasterretabel of Brabant artists dedicated to the "Seven Joys of Mary ".

Detail 1: top center " The Assumption of Mary "

Detail 2: bottom left " The Annunciation "

Detail 3: lower right " The Visitation "


The bright colored windows are from a workshop in Lyon. A window in the left side chapel and the window left of the choir show religious scenes with Jesus, Mary, and Mary Magdalene. Below the Duke and Duchess is included in pious attitude to the scene each. The other windows in the choir show a collection of all arms of the territories over which the Duke and Duchess had the rule of violence.

Stained glass, various coat of arms

Stained glass in the chapel of Margaret of Austria

Stained glass in the choir

Monastery and Museum

The monastery consists of three two-storey cloisters ( Cloîtres ):

1 The small cloister ( petit cloître ) is the oldest, with a direct connection to the abbey church on both floors. Upstairs there was the private chamber of Marguerite. On the ground floor the sacristy and the first chapter-house adjoining.

2 In the great cloister (grand cloître ) are upstairs, the former monks' cells; on the ground floor adjacent to the second chapter house.

3 The cloister of the farm buildings ( cloître of cuisines ) has significant regional trains as round arches, low-pitched roofs and hollow tile.

The rooms of this former monastery now house the museum with permanent and changing exhibits and its ancillary rooms.

It will, inter alia, shown: Pictures Flemish and French painters from the 16th to the 19th century. Among them are two interesting historical portraits of the Dutchman Barent van Orloy that show the 15 -year-old Charles V and Margarete of Austria, as well as a very large format picture by Gustave Doré, one of his most important works.

In addition, the museum permanent exhibitions of modern painters, sculptors and installation artists are held, including such well-known names such as Richard Serra and Rückriem.

" great cloister ", upstairs window of the monks' cells

Third cloister, " Cloitre des Cuisines "

Refectory, sculptures 13.-17.Jh.

46.19755.2363888888889Koordinaten: 46 ° 11 ' 51 " N, 5 ° 14 ' 11 " O