Saturday, October 27, 2018

Petit Sablon in Brussels

The Petit Sablon square in Brussels, charming public park created by the architect Henri Beyaert around 1880, is circled by 48 bronze statues illustrating the various 'corporations' or 'professions' of Brussels at that era. Each has his own distinct piedestal, and a delicate iron gate is joining all of them.

The painter - Photo Alain Michot

Inside the park, in addition to a basin with waterfall, you can admire larger statues of key Dutch Renaissance characters such as Mercator, surrounding the Egmont and Hornes counts. All these were sculpted by the most famous Belgian sculptors of the 19 century, like Jef Lambeaux, and was inaugurated by the same mayor we talked in the last post, Charles Buls.

Mercator, Dutch geograph - Photo Magie des Jardins

The knife maker

The Counts of Egmont and Hornes

Part of the 220 meters intricate grids and iron gates.

The knife maker

The glove maker - Photo Alain Michot

The fat seller - Photo Alain Michot

The watchmaker & jeweller - Photo Alain Michot

Salted fish seller - Photo Alaib Michot

The architect Henri Beyaert - Photo Alain Michot


More photos of the iron gate and grids
Detailed description of each sculpture (in French)
History of the park with old pictures and the detailed restauration

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Male sculptures in Brussels (2)

Today you will discover another selection of some male sculptures seen in Brussels these days, either outside in parks, botanical garden, streets and places, or inside the Royal Palace.

First, the Botanical Gardens, where 52 sculptures were commissioned when it was created in 1826. Two majors sculptors, Constantin Meunier and Charles van der Stappen, leaded the overall design, with the help of numerous Belgian sculptors, around the theme of vegetals, but also animals, and working people.   Here is the 'Laurier' (Laurel) made by Julien Dillens.

On the square 'Vergote' where several Art Deco houses are present, there is this monument sculpted by Charles Samuel, called the 'Monument au Génie', in memory of the last wars (1914-1918 and 1940-1945).

The "Palais des Académies" which today is the Royal Academy of Sciences, helds several sculptures around his classical building, which at the beginning used to be the house of the Prince of Orange, a few years before the creation of the Belgian nation.

The next door Royal Palace has a beautiful, although anonymous, marble sculpture of a Bacchus in the main entrance hall.

In the Cinquantenaire park, where the Art & History Museum is located, there is the 'Pavillion Horta' built specifically to protect the extremely large and imposing 'bas-relief' sculpture made by Jeff Lambeaux, called 'The Human Passions'.

Another Art Nouveau 'bas-relief' is visible on the Town Hall, offered in 1899 by a group of artists to thank Charles Buls, Brussels mayor (Bourgmestre) during almost 20 years, from 1881 to 1899, who actively supported the arts in Brussels and ensured many historical places were kept and maintained.
Designed by the architect Victor Horta, and the sculptor Victor Rousseau, it represents a nude young man holding an oil lamp, you can see also other interesting details.

Human Passions
Botanical Gardens

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Male sculptures in Brussels (1)

Brussels, and Belgium, was and still is home of plenty artists, since centuries. Here is a first selection of male sculptures you can see in parks, museums, cemeteries, not covered previously in this blog like, for example, those from George Minne, or Guillaume Geefs.

Charles Van der Stappen (1843-1910), famous Belgian sculptor, is the author of this Young man with sword (Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels). He also achieved his version of David, below. 

Roger Vene sculpted this 'Thinker' located in the Ixelles cemetery, near the main entrance.

In the same cemetery, another male sculpture, from Eugène de Bremaecker (1879-1963).

In the Palais des Nations, where the 'Parlement Fédéral' is located, there is a sculpture I like, discreetly visible between two corridors, made by Paul Du Bois (the Belgian sculptor, as there is a French one with similar name), and representing the young Prince Leopold.

Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
Sculpture Publique en Belgique  This website is a fantastic work compiling almost all public sculptures in Belgium, by artist or by location.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Millesgarden in Stockholm

Facing Stokholm, the island of Lidingo holds the studio, house and garden of Carl Milles (1875-1955), Swedish sculptor. His naked and playful youth in fountains caused controversy in America. His work includes mythological figures, angels, young men, Swedish history characters as well.

He loved to place his sculptures high in the air, on top of columns, or with discreet metal bars, so they look floating or flying in the air. Some of his sculptures are located in various places in Stockholm, although most are in Millesgarden, or in USA.

Millesgarden, name given today to the plot of land that Carl Milles purchased in 1906, is a beautiful setting, which took several decades to be achieved, between the house, the studio, the loggia, the various fountains, terraces, and gardens. It can remind Italy's Mediterranean coast.


One of these fountains is the Aganippe fountain (1955), filled with muses (Carl Milles replaced them by young men) symbolizing arts and sciences: sculpture with a mini-Pegasus statue, painting with flowers, and music with a saxophone.

Carl Milles liked to place architectural elements in his garden, and he often acquired or gathered columns, marble archs, from demolished palaces, or hotels, etc. to place them at the entrance of stairs between 2 levels of terraces, or to support a sculpture.

One example of this is the 'Wings' sculpture (1908), (actually I would call it Ganymède, the myth that inspired the sculptor, with Zeus disguised as an eagle abducting the beautiful young man) which is located on top of a column that originates from the King Gustav III Opera House, demolished in 1891. A copy of that sculpture is also visible on a Stockholm bridge.

The lower terrace, overlooking the water, is a really large space, displaying superb sculptures, and initially planned to contain a swimming pool, meeting places, ice and skate rinks, waterfall etc. But these elements were not achieved, except the waterfall.

He sculpted many angels, like the Angel Musicians, and the Ice skating angels.

Another example of sculpture high on a column is the man and Pegasus (1949). The flying horse with the child of Poseidon.

Talking about Poseidon, Milles sculpted this one, 7 meters high, standing naked (1930), holding a fish, and a shell. His hat is a shell, and his hait is composed of mussels. His face is quite unique.

Another naked sculpture, the astronomer, looking towards the sky. His hands hold a compass (tool of the sculptor) and a sphere (actually a dodecahedron, a 12-sided volume, tool linked to space). This aims to illustrate the interest of Carl Milles for the life and human condition, as he started to study astronomy very young with his father, then purchased a telescope. His house contains also a tower used as an observatory.

Here is another example of sculpture, located high in the sky, on top of a column : the hand of God (1940).

Carl Milles went to Paris when he was 22, studied the Fine Arts there and met Rodin. In 1903, then aged 48, he travelled to Holland, and to Belgium where he met the sculptor Constantin Meunier, who, at his surprise, had similar sculpting preferences.