Large school buildings, a parish hall and a home for the elderly flank the wide Hofstraat. There, close to the statue of Our Lady Mary, in all its simplicity, is the portrait of Pastor Gordijn (1862-1939).


Gordijn was pastor of the parish Onze-Lieve-Vrouw. He succeeded the socially committed pastor De Meerleer. Gordijn continues the social work of his predecessor. He had his portrait made by August Nobels, priest-sculptor and ex-combatant of the first World War.


Pastor Gordijn wears the clerical collar, part of the traditional clerical clothing.  He is depicted with balding forehead,  intently looking eyes, traits around the mouth  emphasizing his character. This priest radiates empathy and affability. Most certainly a realistic portrait.


NOBELS August (1884-1938)

August Nobels, priest-sculptor-sketcher, was a member of the famous and distinguished Nobels family. His uncle was the well-known painter Jozef Janssens de Varebeke, whose portraits decorate the city hall.  He trained as a priest and was doctor in canon law (1911). He was a chaplain in the first World War and awarded the title of Chevalier in the Order of the Crown. He was a teacher at the school Sint-Jozef-Klein-Seminarie. As a talented autodidact sculptor, he made portraits and bas-reliefs. He designed the giant Nicodemus for the parade in Sint-Niklaas, on the centennial celebrations of Belgium (1930).

Kunst in de Stad – November 8th 2003