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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Twenty Six : Using reflections to transform reality > Golden window, The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium, 2005
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Golden window, The Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium, 2005

One of the greatest concentrations of Flemish Renaissance buildings in the world line the four sides of Brussels’ Town Square. Originally built around 600 years ago, these buildings once functioned as royal administration buildings, as well as home to the city’s many trade guilds. French canon blew them apart 300 years ago but they were rebuilt in the style of the time. They represent the golden age of art, architecture, and commerce in Belgium, and today are collectively known as The Grand Place, the geographical, historical and commercial heart of the city. To express that golden age, I did not choose to describe an entire structure. Rather, I found a group of windows reflecting a sun-splashed building just across the way. The wavy 300-year-old glass abstracts the reflection, and we see a wash of gold on them that conveys a sense of wealth and power. The red flowers and the sculpted frieze below them add context and contrast.

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Phil Douglis26-Jul-2005 18:35
I saw the exquisite beauty of those windows as symbolizing the Golden Age of Flanders. You see it representing catastrophe, death and despair. And just by seeing the wash of color in those old windows as fire instead of gold. It is a very appropriate interpretation, Ana. As I said, French canon blew this place into rubble 300 years ago.
Ana Carloto O'Shea26-Jul-2005 16:06
I guess that this is the image with less reflections of the whole gallery, but what little is reflected in the windows is of enormous beauty. You said a wash of gold, but I see flames... Fire so strong that even burns on the surface of the water. Because I see fire, also the little sculped figures relate to it, as they rush for safety... Even the flowers now don't speak of beauty but of death. Just for seeing fire reflected on the windows, this aparentely calm and blissful image, became the image of catastrophy, of death, of despair...
It is always interesting when little details change our perception of things and I guess that in this image all it took was changing the gold for fire... in a very alchemistic approach to seeing your great photo. I love it!
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