Joris Iven

THE TESTAMENT OF PIETER BLADELIN

 

 

I have no children. I administer an

accumulation that is empty. Castles, courts,

parcels of polderland. I was strict

with myself, even stricter with my

wife and servants. Cooks, clerks,

gatekeepers, barbers. What can a man

accomplish on his own? His life is order,

control and frugality. Ostentation

on well-defined occasions. I counted in

pounds, groats and ducats, in measured

land. Made out bills of exchange, demanded

securities, revoked proxies. I went

clad in red velvet trimmed with

sable, wearing the chain of

the Golden Fleece. I did not build a

house, I founded a city. A citadel,

a church, an infirmary. Another waterway,

a winning-place down to the sea, a market,

a harbour. A man yearns only

for eternity. He happily includes

a sin. I used to call Van der

Weyden simply Rogier. And De Brune

Pieter. I was treasurer. I knelt

before the Child in Middelburg. I

learnt humility from a triptych.

And I humbled myself just as fully

before a sculpture. But I constantly stood

close to the Virgin. My God, she

still radiated dignity. She

bestowed on me more than Marguerite

ever gave. But I only sinned with

retables, with wood or canvases. I was

not unchaste. And listen: if I now must

part, I will gladly kneel once more.

Death is more temporary than life was.

 

 

 

 

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