The bombing of the Grand-Place in 1695

Anonymous, late 17th century

This anonymous work, with its beautiful ochre-red-orange colours, offers an apocalyptic vision of the Grand-Place in Brussels in flames. It is the only painting that shows the monuments and houses of the famous square in flames during the bombing of Brussels from 13 to 15 August 1695 by the troops of Louis XIV, King of France, under the orders of the Duke of Villeroi. Several elements which no longer exist today can be seen, such as the tower of Saint-Nicolas church or the large fountain in front of the Maison du Roi. 

Caught up in a war that pitted him against the "League of Augsbourg", a coalition of European powers - bringing together, among others, the Holy Roman Empire, England, the Dutch Republic and Spain -, Louis XIV intended to show his enemies his firepower with a spectacular example. Brussels, the most important city in the southern Netherlands, placed under the sovereignty of the King of Spain Charles II, was chosen as the target. French cannons and mortars hit the bottom part of the city with a huge amount of bombs and fireballs which completely destroyed it.