Der Held von Coevorden

Der Held von Coevorden
Height 46 cm

This ceramic sculpture ‘Der Held von Coevorden’ I specially made for the exhibition ‘Between Art and History’ at the Museum of Coevorden (Until 16 September 2018). It is about the self-appointed bishop of Munster, herr von Galen (1606-1678), or ‘Bommen Berend’ (“Bombing Bernard”) according to the history books. In my sculpture he has become a kind of Nutcracker figure, on a toy “horse” in this case a goose. He is a bit ridiculous as a toy, and certainly not the heroic warlord he wanted to be. He is standing on a big ball, a reference to the bombs he liked so much.
The historical objects and stories that I have used as inspiration for the sculptures have primarily been a starting point for research into the history of Coevorden, both the military history and certainly the archeology of the city, and a research into ceramics. To give an example for the latter: ceramic shards from the museum collection brought me on similar ceramic material, and especially on remains of ceramic fire covers. Ceramic fire covers were used in the Netherlands from the sixteenth century onwards, in order to prevent fire in homes. Many of these “Vuurklokken” “fire bells” were glazed in a green glaze based on copper oxide. Similar glaze is also on the shards in the collection of the museum in Coevorden. I have done research for this project to this glaze, and I have created a glaze that looks very similar.
In researching inspiring visual material for the project, I came across photos of ‘nutcrackers’, sculptures often executed in wood in the form of soldiers, where the big mouth functions as nutcracker. I found the stiffness of those nutcrackers to refer strongly to the old-fashioned armor from the time of the sieges of Coevorden, hence the sculptures also have that degree of stiffness in their expression.