In the nearly endless series of flying buttress figurines for St. Eusebius's Church in Arnhem, I again arrived at carving one of the topmost pieces, on which always Noah's Ark is depicted. On this one, this time the ark is shown with swirling waves around it, and Noah climbing into the boat before everything is washed away.
But before I started on this one I first took a few weeks off. This summer I've had just a short break, and so we were entitled to some more holidays: to South India this time.
Upon returning, I picked up the work on this flying buttress figurine. Unfortunately, this scene was rather difficult to read in the old stone. I spent quite some time deciphering what was actually meant; adding some outlines in chalk made it all a bit clearer. But the difference between the waves and the boat was not clear to me, and still not, really. Eventually I decided to put the boat on struts, and the wavy parallel lines below it I decided to treat as waves. I hope this will make the interesting figurine slightly easier to recognize.
These flying buttress figurines were designed in the 1950s by Haarlem sculptor Theo van Reijn. If I'm honest I have to say that the finish of the sculptures is sometimes quite messy, but on the other hand, he has designed some very nice compositions, and very visually displays the story of Noah and the ark.
Noah fleeing the rising waters
I actually copied the story of Noah in the reverse order these past few months , as one can read on this blog: at the first ark that I carved you could see the return of the dove, and at the second ark you could see Noah praying for a solution, his dove all ready for departure on the roof. This time, Noah has finished building, all animals have entered and it has started to rain heavily. The water is rising so fast that Noah has to find a refuge in the ark as soon as possible. Remarkably Noah here sports long dreadlocks and a long beard, while he has a short beard and a bald head in later scenes. Apparently there was also a barber on board.
At first I thought that Noah climbed into his ark in the nude , but he apparently is wearing some sort of Egyptian skirt, and on reflection I saw a sleeve line at his wrist.
This Muschelkalksteen block was pretty rough at some points, but they all fell outside of the main sculptural parts. Once it will all be put into place on the church later on, I hope to make some better pictures.
While writing this post on my blog I came across the website of the Ark in Dordrecht. This project gives an idea of the intended scale of the original ark, see the link here: arkvannoach.com ↑