Flying buttress figurine: A Foolish Maiden


A foolish maiden

flying buttress statue from the Eusebius Church in Arnhem: a Foolish Maiden

the old tufa sculptur

Of the flying buttresses which we are now working on, each have their own theme. There are seven trumpet angels, people who represent the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, a group of Wise Maidens and this sculpture from the last arc depicts a Foolish Maiden.

Briefly, the story goes like this: this girl is waiting for the groom, but just before he arrives she discovers that the oil for her lamp has run out. While she's out buying new oil, she misses the party and knocks at the door in vain. Maintain your energy level!

Planes and lines

An old flying buttress figurine from the Eusebius Church in Arnhem: a Foolish Maiden. Ancient tuff statue.

cubistic design

This group was sculpted in a fairly cubistical way, and quite heavy. It was almost impossible to see what is actually being portrayed. Even standing right next to it, I could not see it very well. There were a number of surfaces and lumps, but their purpose was not clear. Upon completion, mid fifties, they asked the sculptor if he could make it all a bit slimmer afterwards. I can not really see that that has helped.

Storytelling

With this kind of sculptures, it is intended that the story will be illustrated by them. Unfortunately I couldn't recognize it anymore in this one. After long thinking I decided to adapt some things a bit. Not that it will be a break in style: broadly it is still the same image. However, between all the surfaces it wasn't clear that she carries a container under her arm. I thought that this jug was the most important attribute in the story, and therefore it should be much clearer what exactly it is. For that reason I have made the can of oil round. This puts it more sharply into contrast to the rest of the figurine, allowing the girl herself to stand out better. I also tried to make it clear that the Foolish Maiden rises quickly, while she's gathering up her skirts. Her wedding dress. That is why they have such an ample dress!

An old flying buttress figurine from the Eusebius Church in Arnhem: a Foolish Maiden. Copy in Muschelkalk limestone

The copy in limestone

Copy

Perhaps not everyone will appreciate my choices; it remains a difficult issue. I chose to tell the story more clearly. Yet, though the statue has become a bit slimmer all around, I did follow its existing shapes. All surfaces are reflected in the copy. Some details were added, such as the boots and the cleavage, some folds in the gown and there is a little bit of expression in the face. Her posture has remained the same, but I hope that because of the lighter limestone and the slightly more slender version it's a little bit clearer what she's doing. And because the jug stands out more, it may also be clearer what this Foolish Virgin is carrying, and that this is not part of her dress. An empty oil container.

Two completions

Because we should soon provide two churches with newly made sculptural parts, it's currently quite busy. I'll be away on a break as well, so I try as much as possible to do all of the sawing in advance. Hence, there will not be much to report in the coming period: sawing work is not too interesting to write about. See you later!

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

follow me on Instagram
and Twitter
and on YouTube

Thomas Aquinas (sandstone) for St. John's Cathedral

The statue of Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas: Here the statue is still in its niche of St John's Cathedral

St. John's cathedral

The major overhaul of St. John's cathedral is steadily continuing. Each year or maybe every two years, I'm not quite sure, one bay of the church is restored: 1 buttress and 1 window facade. This year I already did some work on two finial bases, a slanted profile and some crockets, but this time no canopy.

Weathering on the statue of Thomas Aquinas

In particular, the folds at the bottom of his habit were considerably weathered

Thomas Aquinas

The dove stands for Divine inspiration

I received a request to bid for the carving of a copy of a statue from this church. To my pleasure I got the commission. But at the time it was not yet clear to me which saint was depicted. It is a statue in Udelfanger sandstone. Stylistically I thought from the 1920, because it is so highly stylized, but it is about 40 years older: around 1880. It's a monk in a Dominican habit (as seen by his hood) with a book, a quill and a dove. The book and dove made clear that he is a "father of the church’ as it's called.

a father of the church (nowadays Teacher of the Church , because there are female teachers of the church as well, such as Teresa of Ávila, Catherine of Siena, Theresia of Lisieux and Hildegard of Bingen) is someone who has left important writings on faith and doctrinal matters and has led an exemplary life of holiness. I thought his book to show something like 'Lausal da van Sion Tower', but a search yielded nothing. I wish I had read vertically!

Long live Whatsapp

Lau da Sion Sal va torem

After a few questions via Whatsapp to the right person it became clear that this sculpture has been on the outside of the cathedral in front of a stained-glass window, and that he probably was depicted on the inside as well. And yes, he was, he turned out to be Thomas Aquinas. And so the text becomes immediately apparent: an opening sentence from a famous cantata written by him. 'Lau da Sion Sal va torem'. Praise, Sion, the Savior.

strange, For Aquinas was, according to tradition so enormously fat that he did not fit in a regular choir bench. They had to saw away one of the separation pieces, so he could sit at twice the normal width. Here he is pictured almost ascetic lean.

Standing layering

Anyway, I was not hired for a hagiography or for art historical research, but to carve a copy. The first step is to reconstruct it, and then I need to carve a copy from that into a new block of sandstone. And just there's the catch. The old statue was carved in Udelfanger sandstone. But this stone is not available in this height. How is it that they were able to make a statue in one piece anyway? Simple. The stone they can retrieve from a bank of about one meter thick. So a statue of 152 cm is simply not possible. Unless you take a horizontal block of stone.

But this choice has its drawbacks. The sedimentary deposits of this block will then be in line with the statue. Vertical. You'd prefer that the layers run horizontally through the sculpture, because if something breaks, the fracture will run horizontally as well, So the chance that everything stays in place anyhow is quite large. But in a statue with vertical layers, after some weathering an entire slice at once could come loose and fall down.

The layer deposition in the quarry is called layering. Horizontal layering is desirable, upright layering is not. For this staue, they wanted a block with horizontal layering. That just is not possible, because the bank thickness in the quarry is not more than at most 110 cms.

Patching it up

The pictures show clearly that this sculpture is missing entire parts at the bottom, which fell off after weathering. I had to remodel those first and make a reconstruction of how it must have been originally. Now I do prefer plaster for this, so I can presaw the statue more easily on my copying saw. But Thomas Aquinas must be preserved intact because he will be stored later in the museum The Bouwloods, at St. John's Cathedral. That's why I modeled the missing parts in plastiline clay, that never hardens. That can later be easily removed again.

Statue of Thomas Aquinas (sandstone) reconstruction in plastiline clay

Missing parts are filled in with plastiline clay. The chalk mark approximately indicates the seam.

In two parts

This week, the committee came to see me to review the results and discuss how we can make this statue in horizontal layering. Eventually it was decided to create a thin seam between the two new blocks. On the dividing line of the monk's hood will be a cutting surface. But this seam runs quite irregular. When I cut a straight line here it will firstly be very visible and secondly the seam runs through the knuckles of the right hand.

After some deliberation we decided: I'll make a separate top part and a separate bottom part. Exactly on the axis of the cap, I'll carve a parting plane toboth parts. Next, I'll put the two pieces together and insert two thick stainless steel pins. That will be an interesting puzzle! I will keep you informed of the sequel.

Beeldhouwerijblog.nl is the blog of Koen van Velzen, sculptor in stone and bronze. Look up my website as well: beeldhouwerijvanvelzen.nl

follow me on Instagram
and Twitter
and on YouTube

Flying buttress figurine: A Wise Maiden

flying buttress statue Wise Maiden

After the 26 flying buttress scupltures from the north side of St. Eusebius's Church I (along with team member Jelle) started carving the 27 sculptures from the South Side. The themes of these four flying buttresses are the Trumpeting angels (that I carved in September 2016 already), the Wise Maidens, the Foolish Maidens and the represent the Beatitudes. So the trumpet angels have already been completed, as are two of the Wise Maidens, the Beatitudes are almost done, apart from the top block, on which the Commander-in-Chief is depicted, so we only have a few of these girls to go. This sculpture was a …Read the whole article…

Finally another update!

Storm before the silence

After my last post on this blog, it has remained silent for far too long here. But not because I haven't done anything! On the contrary, it's been way too busy to report it all.

So I've been working on the carving of another coat-of-arms in Bentheimer sandstone. The design was almost the same as the previous one, but this one would would be suspended from a wall. Therefore, it was carried out lighter, without an edge to the relief and with a thinner base of 3 cms thick.

Flying Buttress Figurines

Then I went back to work with …Read the whole article…

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 …Read the whole article…

Corbel for the Eusebius Tower: a bird-like beast?

Bird beast: a copy of a tufa stone corbel by John Grosman in new Muschelkalk limestone for the Eusebius Tower in Arnhem
One of the last of the 10 corbels for the South- and North side of the tower of the Eusebius Church at 23 meters high was this winged bird-like beast. It sits somewhat cramped in its corner and there spreads its claws and wings. This piece was originally …Read the whole article…

Corbel: a cat with wings

copy of Corbel for Eusebius Tower: cat with wings to tufa original new muschelkalksteen
copy of Corbel for Eusebius Tower: cat with wings to tufa original new muschelkalksteenThis next corbel for the Eusebius Tower is destined for the north side at 22 meters height, and is part of a group chimeras or a kind of winged cats.
The cat with wings on the corbel holding …Read the whole article…

Corbel for the Eusebius Tower: 1 lady with two doves

Copy of Corbel in new Muschelkalksteen of 1 lady with two doves

Lady with two doves

As you can read in the most recent posts on this blog, these past few weeks I've been busy carving corbels for the Eusebius Tower. This tower of the Eusebius Church in Arnhem has been covered in scaffolds for several years already, to …Read the whole article…

Corbel: A man with bird

corbel Eusebius Man with bird1 The second corbel I carved for scaffolding layer no. 10 of the Eusebius Tower was a man with a bird. Like the original, this copy in Muschelkalk limestone is carved pretty rough, with the tooth chisel marks still clearly visible. This gives the surface of the stone a lively effect; chisel traces strengthen …Read the whole article…