Father Lambert Aerts

Father Lambert Aerts

The article below was found in “Pastoor-Aertspad & Turftrapperspad” of the Davidsfonds and the local history circle Leopoldsburg-Heppen.

Lambert Aerts was born in Boorsem on March 20, 1875, the year that the Davidsfonds was also founded. He was ordained a priest in 1900 and was successively teacher and principal of the College of Peer. In 1915 he was appointed parish priest in Heppen and remained so until his death in Wijshagen on October 12, 1937.

Father Aerts was not only a diligent priest who observed his pastoral duty with the fullest commitment of his being – but also a leading art connoisseur and publicist. He focused his studies on the famous Ghent Altarpiece by Van Eyck, which can still be admired in Ghent’s Saint Bavo Cathedral. Already in his time, the tireless speaker who was Father Aerts traveled through the country with a slide projector, usually in schools and parish halls, to share his fellow human beings with his aesthetic experiences and art critical insights.

Father Aerts mainly became known in art circles for his startling statement that the central figure on the top of Van Eyck’s polyptych does not represent God the Father, as is generally believed, but the glorified Christ, God the Son. He defended this position with great tenacity.

Because of his scientific and literary work Father Aerts was included in the Commission for Monuments and Landscapes, in the Historical and Archaeological Circle and in the Association for Limburgish Writers.

Five years before his death, Father Aerts was the initiator of the foundation of the Davidsfonds in Leopoldsburg. Founding date: December 27, 1932.

Op zijn grafsteen die op het nieuwe kerkhof te Heppen heropgericht werd staat te lezen:

“Die zijn Vlaamsche Volk en Taal en Kunst liefhad en diende. De studie van het Lam Gods vulde zijn dagen, de glorie van het Lam Gods vult zijn eeuwigheid” (tranlated: “Who loved and served his Flemish People and Language and Art. The study of the Lamb of God filled his days, the glory of the Lamb of God fills his eternity”)

Translation: Patrick MARQUENIE

This article is also available in Nederlands