A Scene In Oude Kerk Amsterdam

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Two works of the exhibition “Once in a lifetime” (12 May – 28 August 2016) in Oude Kerk (Old church), Amsterdam, Netherlands.

1.- In the work ‘Heritage’ by Folkert de Jong (NL, 1972), and older man and child are sitting on a stack of pallets. Downcast and timid they stare straight ahead. In the monumental church they seem particularly vulnerable and lonely. Where do they come from? What are they waiting for? What is making them so dejected? By calling the work Heritage, Folkert de Jong is alluding to the fact that we are not only responsible for our behaviour in the present, but are responsible for the behaviour of our predecessors in the past as well. Typical of Folkert de Jong’s work is his use of coloured styrofoam and polyurethane foam. These materials are not intended to last for eternity and are not environmentally friendly whatsoever. It is this disturbing property that intrigues the artist. In his sculptures he often refers to dark events in the past, which he then relates to contemporary events with an ironic twist, connecting the history of art with the present day.

2.- The work ‘Celebration (you only live once)(you only die once)’ that Job Koelewijn (NL, 1962) has created especially for the exhibition consists of an installation of vases with colourful, fragrant flowers. The vases are placed carefully on the church’s tombstone floor, in memory of the dead who were buried here many centuries ago. Flowers are used at many moments in life as an expression of joy, but they are also used at moments that are coupled with sorrow, as an expression of love and solace for the bereaved. In the church the flower arrangements leave a solemn, serene and at the same time slightly absurd impression. Who are we commemorating here and for whom do the flowers provide solace? Job Koelewijn’s work is often conceptual in character, but is at the same time strongly sensual and always alludes to reality. The subjects of ‘time’ and ‘timelessness’ play an important part in his work, which ranges from photos and films to small objects and space-filling installations. Koelewijn often uses materials that appeal to our sense of touch and smell, that possess a great fragility and ‘purity’.

The 800-year-old Oude Kerk (“old church”) is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, founded ca. 1213 and consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today. It stands in De Wallen, now Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The square surrounding the church is the Oudekerksplein.

Today, the Oude Kerk is a centre for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions and dinner parties. Among the events hosted is the prestigious annual World Press Photo awards ceremony. The venue hosts many concerts with performers including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

The plaque at the pillar is dedicated to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), a Dutch composer, organist, and pedagogue whose work straddled the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras. He was among the first major keyboard composers of Europe, and his work as a teacher helped establish the north German organ tradition.
(Description from oudekerk.nl and Wikipedia)

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The Vismarkt in Utrecht

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Vismarkt (Fishmarket) in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Vismarkt is the old fish market whose origins go back to the 12th century and which still took place up to the 2nd half of the 20th century. To keep the fish fresh, it was placed in large baskets which were immersed in the canal. The canal is now lined with numerous antique shops.

Utrecht is the capital and most populous city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation and is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 330,772 in 2014.

Utrecht’s ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It lost the status of prince-bishopric but remains the main religious center in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was surpassed by Amsterdam as the country’s cultural centre and most populous city.

The Dom tower and the remaining section of the Dom church have not been connected since the collapse of the nave in 1674.

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Under the scaffolding of The Palace of Justice – Brussels

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Palace of Justice (French: Palais de Justice, Dutch: Justitiepaleis) or Law Courts of Brussels is the most important court building in Belgium and the largest courthouse in the world.

It was built between 1866 and 1883 in the eclectic style by the celebrated architect Joseph Poelaert. The total cost of the construction, land and furnishings was somewhere in the region of 45 million Belgian francs. It is reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century. It is a notable landmark of Brussels.

In 1860, during the reign of Leopold I, a Royal decree announced the building of the Palace of Justice and an international architecture contest was organised for its design. The designs entered in the contest were found to be unacceptable and were thus rejected. The then minister of justice Tesch appointed Joseph Poelaert to design the building in 1861. The first stone was laid on October 31, 1866, and the building was inaugurated on October 15, 1883, four years after Poelaert’s death in 1879.

For the building of the Palace of Justice, a section of the Marollen neighbourhood was demolished, while most of the park belonging to the House of Merode was also expropriated. The 75 landlord owners of the houses, many of whom lived in their homes, received large indemnities, while the other inhabitants, about a hundred, were also forced to move by the Belgian government, though they were compensated with houses in the garden city “Tillens-Roosendael” in the municipality of Uccle, in the Quartier du Chat.

Poelaert himself lived in the Marollen neighbourhood in a house only a few hundred metres from the building, a house adjoining his vast offices and workshops. It is thus unlikely he saw himself as ruining the neighbourhood.

As a result of the forced relocation of so many people, the word architect became one of the most serious insults in Brussels.

The Palace’s location is on the Galgenberg hill, where in the Middle Ages convicted criminals were hanged.

The building includes huge interior statues of Demosthenes and Lycurgus, by sculptor Pierre Armand Cattier, and figures of Roman jurists Cicero and Ulpian, by Antoine-Felix Bourr. Although the construction took place during the reign of Leopold II, he showed little interest in the building, and it’s not considered part of his extensive architectural program in Brussels or his legacy as the “Builder-King”.

The Brussels Palace of Justice is bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The building is currently 160 by 150 meters, and has a total built ground surface of 26,000 m2. The 104 meter high dome weighs 24,000 tons. The building has 8 courtyards with a surface of 6000 m2, 27 large court rooms and 245 smaller court rooms and other rooms. (Description form Wikipedia)

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Saint Hieronymus façade and bell tower of Calahorra Cathedral

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Cathedral of Santa María is a catholic cathedral located in Calahorra, La Rioja, Spain.

Calahorra’s Cathedral is located outside the city, in its lowest part, close to the Cidacos’s riverbank. Its main façade is baroque. The tower is furnished with six bodies. Saint Hieronymus front, fusing both gothic and renaissance styles, breaks the austerity of the northern façade. Built in dressed stone, the style of the Cathedral is mainly Gothic, though the chancel displays certain influence from the Renaissance. Within the interior of the temple there are sixteen chapels contaning important pieces of art, among which their altarpieces, accomplished between the 16th and 18th century, can be highlighted.

The front of Saint Hieronymus breaks the artistic austerity of the northern façade by displaying a combination of great artistic quality fusing Gothic and Renaissance styles, including its Plateresque and Mannierist phases.

The front consists of two bodies which correspond to two different styles and periods, the upper one being the most ancient (gothic, 1520), while the lower one is of Renaissance style (year 1559).

The tympanum presides the door with a scene of the Coronation of the Virgin shielded by the images of Saint Emeterius and Saint Celedonius.

The door is also called “Graveyard Door”, for it gave entrance to the cemetery of the Cathedral in previous times. This explains the two Angels playing the trumpet which are there represented announcing the Resurrection of the Dead.

The second body, the oldest, is furnished with a series of slightly pointed archs which act as four archivolts shielding the tympanum and which lay directly over the entablature capping the first body. A rich decoration in relief is arranged between the archivolts and the tympanum, though the iconographic program of the front is mainly gathered in the figures of the exterior archivolt and the tympanum.

In the tympanum, over a neutral background, there is a ronde-bosse group forming a single scene (as was characteristic in hte last period of the Gothic) related to the Glory of the Virgin, who has the Martyr Saints, Emeterius and Celedonius, on Her side. The figures, simetrically ordered, are adapted to the gothic architecture of the frame. The Virgin, in the centre, being of greater size than the images of the Saints, stands out among the rest, thus emphasising She is the most important figure. This sculptoric convention was still a clear medieval reminiscence which influenced the lay-out of the composition.

The Virgin is sitting on Her throne, with the Child over Her left knee and an open book on the right, which She also holds with one hand, while the Child points at it with one of His fingers. Both images direct Their gazestowards the book. The Virgin is crowned by two adolescent angels whose tunics indicate their flying posture.

A scallop shell of Renaissance fashion, serving both as canony and as base for the music angel, is placed over the Virgin, thus reinforcing the idea of Glory conveyed by the group.

In the pointing keystone of the arch, just in the central axe of the composition, rests the image representing the Resurrection of Christ, who is standing, superimposed to the two archivolts in a radial direction, in front of the shrine. Apart from this figure, and as decreed by the canons of traditional gothic, there are six further Saints in the direction marked by the archs, three on each side of Christ, alternating with an equal number of angels.

The Saints are, from bottom to top and from left to right, Marguerite of Antioch, Catherine of Alexandria, Lucy, Elizabeth of Hungary, Perpetua and Felicity. (Description from catedralcalahorra.org).

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A tombstone in Sligo Abbey

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

A tombstone with inscription in Sligo Abbey, Ireland.

The inscription says:

“IHS
The prayers of the Fairhfull are
Requested for the reposo of the
Soul of Elenor Murphy alias
O Connor who departed his life the 16
of Janry 1827 aged 69 years.
This tomb was Erected by her
Husband John Murphy of Sligo”.

Sligo Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Shligigh), a ruined abbey in Sligo, Ireland, (officially called the Dominican Friary of Sligo) was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald, Baron of Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Nine Years’ War in 1595 and once more in 1641 during the Ulster Uprising. The friars moved out in the 18th century, but Lord Palmerston restored the Abbey in the 1850s.

Known locally as the Abbey, the site contains a great wealth of carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well preserved cloister and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church.

It appears in two short stories by William Butler Yeats: “The Crucifixion of the Outcast”, set in the Middle Ages, and “The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows” describing its destruction in 1641.

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Sligo Abbey interior

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Sligo Abbey (Irish: Mainistir Shligigh), a ruined abbey in Sligo, Ireland, (officially called the Dominican Friary of Sligo) was originally built in 1253 by the order of Maurice Fitzgerald, Baron of Offaly. It was destroyed in 1414 by a fire, ravaged during the Nine Years’ War in 1595 and once more in 1641 during the Ulster Uprising. The friars moved out in the 18th century, but Lord Palmerston restored the Abbey in the 1850s.

Known locally as the Abbey, the site contains a great wealth of carvings including Gothic and Renaissance tomb sculpture, well preserved cloister and the only sculptured 15th century high altar to survive in any Irish monastic church.

It appears in two short stories by William Butler Yeats: “The Crucifixion of the Outcast”, set in the Middle Ages, and “The Curse of the Fires and of the Shadows” describing its destruction in 1641.

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The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam

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© RicardMN Photography

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands, from the port.

The Erasmus Bridge (Dutch: Erasmusbrug) is a combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge in the centre of Rotterdam, connecting the north and south parts of this city, second largest in the Netherlands. The bridge was named after Desiderius Erasmus also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, a prominent Christian renaissance humanist.

The 802-metre-long (2,631 ft) bridge across the New Meuse was designed by Ben van Berkel and completed in 1996. The cable-stayed bridge section has a single 139-metre-high (456 ft) asymmetrical pale blue pylon with a prominent horizontal base, earning the bridge its nickname “The Swan”.

The southernmost span of the bridge has an 89-metre-long (292 ft) bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the bridge. The bascule bridge is the largest and heaviest in Western Europe and has the largest panel of its type in the world.

After costing more than 165 million Euros to construct, the bridge was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on September 6, 1996. Shortly after the bridge opened to traffic in October 1996, it was discovered the bridge would swing under particularly strong wind conditions. To reduce the trembling, stronger shock dampers were installed.

The bridge featured in the 1998 Jackie Chan film “Who Am I?”. In 2005, several planes flew underneath the bridge as part of the “Red Bull Air Race”. The bridge is also part of The World Port Days in Rotterdam.

In 2005, the bridge served as the backdrop for a performance by DJ Tiesto titled “Tiesto @ The Bridge, Rotterdam”. The performance featured fire-fighting ships spraying jets of water into the air in front of the bridge, a fireworks barge launching fireworks beside the bridge, and multi colored spot/search lights attached to the bridge itself.

The bridge was crossed during the prologue and the opening stage of the 2010 Tour de France.

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