Noah fleeing the rising waters (flying buttress figurine)

Old tuff flying buttress figurine. Noah fleeing the water that is rising up around the arkIn 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.


bronze tiger in the courtyard of Maharaja's Palace, Mysore.

One of the magnificent bronze tigers in the courtyard of the palace of the Maharaja of Mysore

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.


Copying an old flying buttress figurine: Noah fleeing the rising waters. Old sculpture of tuffstone right and new sculpture of Muschelkalk limestone left

Noah climbing into the ship, mid-copying. I gave the ark some boards again and put it up on struts. The waves are now slightly more pronounced.

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.

flying buttress figurine: Noah fleeing the rising waters

flying buttress figurine: Noah fleeing the rising waters. backside.

flying buttress figurine: Noah fleeing the rising waters. The ark on the struts between the waves

flying buttress figurine: Noah fleeing the rising watersAt 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: ↑

on to the next flying buttress figurine→

or to The whole sculptor's workshop is a Nativity scene → is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well:

2 responses to “Noah fleeing the rising waters (flying buttress figurine)

  1. soriane wrote:

    I do not understand the text but I admire your achievements …WOUHhaaa ….!
    I am happy to see all your talent to deploy more ……
    Congratulations Dear Brother koen to sow on earth the beauty she needs so much !

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