Flying buttress figurine: Apostle Andrew last week

flying buttress figurine of Apostle Andreas, newly copied in Muschelkalk limestone


We're coming along nicely with carving the musicians from flying buttress no. 14, but we were faced with some adversity. The block for the trumpeter showed some significant cracks and had to be re-ordered. That's all part of the warranty by the quarry, but still annoying, because they will not reimburse transportation. Fortunately, I 'm not bothered too much by that myself, as it's all in the hands of Slotboom Stonemasons as they're the ones orderering the stone. We also missed the picture of from Accordeonist ↑, which had mistakenly been glued to the new movie theater. But meanwhile it has now been pried loose and has finally arrived in our yard. I immediately started with pre-cutting with the saw machine and the first carving right away. We were also soon to receive a delegation of customers who had bought an old statue of the apostles, but Coronavirus has thrown a spanner in the works.

Attributes for each apostle

Meanwhile, we've just begun carving work on flying buttress no. 16, a series of 6 times an apostle and the Mystic Lamb up on top. Stide has already completed the apostle St Peter, Jelle has just finished carving the Mystic Lamb, and I completed Apostle Andrew last week for this buttress.. He was easy to recognize by the cross he holds. It's a jolly group altogether, those apostles: all of them hold the torturing device by which they were put to death. Those were the days.

Andrew did not want to be crucified in the same way as Jesus, but that never bothered them: they made the St. Andrew's Cross especially for him. We now use it as a warning sign for a level railway crossing.

Coarsely carved

side view Saint AndrewAs I previously reported, these flying buttress figurines tend to get more voluminous and rougher as sculptor Eduard van Kuilenburg was nearing the end of the work. From arch to arch you can clearly see the development the sculptor went through.

In the fascinating book on the sculpture at this church is an anecdote that relates how the church council responded in shock to the "crowded flying buttresses’ carrying these massive apostles. The six disciples sit there looking impressive, with big hands and broad heads. They're fairly easy to carve, but very expressive in their execution. At different angles, you can see how the sculptor worked: he drew on a number of sides the contours of arms, body and legs and just started carving away. That's why his left arm still remains quite flat and follows the mass of the original block.

Two right feet

Apparently his feet were less important, because Van Kuilenburg spent considerably less attention to those details. Like the Listening Man that Stide copied and with The Little Praying Man from the northwest side, one of his feet is the other way around, with the big toe on the wrong side. Again, I just corrected that a bit, that doesn't further affect the overall look of the sculpture.

No changes made

But apart from that one foot, I haven't changed anything in this figurine. It was carved a little bit cartoon-like, and anatomical correctness was clearly subordinate to its narrative power. If you would try to adjust everything by all means to 'how it should be', then you would clearly miss the point and end up with something that's neither this not that. Therefore I have tried to approach the coarse structure of the old figurine by using the bush hammer-chisel, because this also contributes to the overall character of this statue. I thought it was a very expressive little thing, that reminded me strongly of the twelve heads that Stide copied on the west facade of the tower of St. Eusebius's Church.

All in all a very nice sculpture to carve. This series will definitely be clearly silhouetted on the arches around the chancel of the church later on!

on to the next flying buttress figurine→ is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well:

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2 responses to “Flying buttress figurine: Apostle Andrew last week

  1. Piet wrote:

    Nice image and thanks for your info about the maker of yesteryear, then the statue that used to stand before the downstairs renovation at the stairs to the basement is certainly his…
    Thanks also for the tip of the book
    Stay healthy and heel by, I do it too 😉

  2. Johan and Marjan wrote:

    We were immediately impressed by this image, it will be a nice place with us (within) again. Only to get it to Zeeland Flanders…

    Johan and Marjan

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