Flying Buttress Figurines: four times Noah's Ark

Theo van Reijns theme of Noah's Ark

There are 96 flying buttress figurines on St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem (the Netherlands), distributed over 14 flying buttresses. Four of these are filled with animal figures on the theme of Noah's Ark, designed by the Haarlem sculptor Theo van Reijn (and for the most part carved by his artisan sculptor Eduard van Kuilenburg). He awarded each of these flying buttresses to the ark itself, in several episodes of the story of the Great Flood.
The past year I have mostly spent copying 26 of these figurines. It seemed a good moment to show these four arks next to (or underneath) each other. These are the four copies I made in new Muschelkalk limestone.

Noah's ark: a zoo in a boat-copy of the ark

1: All animals have been boarded

In this first image you can see the ark full of animals, ready to depart. It's still on its struts, because Noah's ark was built on dry land and he stowed it full of animals before the rains came.

flying buttress sculpture of Noah's Ark: Noah fleeing the rising waters

2: The water comes up in wild waves and Noah climbs up into the ark

The second image shows how the rains have started and the water is swirling around below the ark. Noah escapes the onrush of the waters.

Noah's ark

3: After forty days of rain Noah is praying for a solution. The dove is ready to leave.

It rained for forty days. Here we see Noah kneeling down to pray in his rowboat. I don't quite understand why Van Reijndepicted a dove with something in its beak here. It was so weathered that it was not clear what it was supposed to depict. I made an olive branch out of it, although the pigeon only carried that in its beak at the second return to Noah's ark.

Noah's ark

4: The pigeon has already landed on the roof, but Noah is still looking for it.

In the fourth scene Noah looks out the window, searching for the dove. The donkey's looking out the window too, but the pigeon is already on the roof.

Noah's ark: new in Muschelkalk limestone, old in Ettringer tuff stone. Tower of St. Eusebius' Church

Noah's ark: new in Muschelkalk limestone, old in Ettringer tuff stone

Another little corbel with its copy next to it. I added some more details.

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:

Leave a comment

The email address will not be published.