The four evangelists, Saint John, Saint Luke, Saint Mark and Saint Matthew are often depicted clad in Roman togas and sitting at their writing desks, each accompanied by their own attribute: an eagle, a bull, a lion and an angel respectively. Theodoor van Loon, a contemporary of Rubens, spent some time in Italy, soaking up inspiration from Caravaggio and his followers.
Walking underneath the 1671 baroque entrance gate, visitors to the Diest beguinage instantly feel the serenity, harmony and closeness of this religious compound, one of the largest in the world. The typically sober 14th-century church at its centre is constructed in local ironstone. As one of the most popular saints among beguines, St Catherine’s help was invoked for burns and skin conditions. The building, whose interior exudes baroque and rococo lavishness, was recently restored and the façades finished with lime plaster.