Art: Zoutleeuw's Altarpiece

The carved oak reliefs of its altarpiece, circa 1565, form one of the chief treasures of St. Leonard's Church. The triptych shows scenes in the life of St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. The Bible has no mention of Anne. The only source is the apocryphal gospel known as the Protoevangelium Jacobi, written in 170-180 A.D. This account has it that Anne and Joachim were devoted, but Anne could not conceive. So Joachim went into the desert to meditate; his wife stayed home to worry. An angel appeared to Anne, Joachim had a vision in the desert, and Joachim and...

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