Local Heart, Global Soul

October 18, 2017

Entirely for My Artistic Pleasure…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This next post is entirely for my artistic pleasure.

I love shape, form, texture and pattern, so the shape of vines on a trellis at Himself’s family friends home in Breda captures my imagination.

I also have a “thing” with plants, trees and leaves at the moment and keep intending to draw them, so these also serve as “studies” for my artwork portfolio.

Not having a garden of my own means that I need to ‘stock up’ on photos for my arty archive when ever I get the chance.

It’s not just the garden that has items I can use as inspirational material either, inside a beautiful statuette, a barometer and the pattern on a dish also catch my eye.

I did of course ask permission to take all of these and since there was no identifying information it was no problem. I even found a garden hose interesting (yes, I know there is no accounting for taste!) Regular readers will know that I delight in photographing every day ordinary things and there is no more ordinary thing than a garden hose.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 13, 2017

Silence Is Golden In The Maria Park…

Filed under: ART,BELGIUM,Meersel-Dreef,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A few days ago I translated an information board in Meersel-Dreef about how the “Valley of Mercy of Our lady of Lourdes” was founded in 1895.

In todays post we are crossing the road from the monastery and entering the Maria park where the valley of mercy and Lourdes grotto are located.

Pilgrims have been coming here for more than a century, and one of the first warm spring days in 2017 saw the park busy with many visitors, so it’s popularity has far from waned.

The main path separates into left and right branches that curve around in a semicircle,  that meet more or less at the grotto in the middle.

Around each of these curved paths are a series of small hut-like brick buildings, each containing statues that pertain to a station of the cross.

The marble statues inside are beautiful, and it’s a perfect place for contemplation.

The Maria Park is a place where the public are requested to be silent during their visit so that proper contemplation, prayer, gathering of thoughts and finding of peace might be obtained. We visited in silence, and even though the the strength of the religious beliefs between the members of our party of six varied considerably, each of us came away with something from having been here.  They say that ‘silence is golden” and if our experience here is anything to go by, sometimes it certainly is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“Eerbied en stilte” (reverence and silence), the sign also requests that dogs be on leads.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This was an additional shrine, but we didn’t take the wheelchair down this side path.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hoogstraten  / Meersel-Dreef / Mariapark
Wikipedia  / Mersel-Dreef / Belgium (Dutch language only)

October 10, 2017

A Monastery Where The Devil Is In The Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing our visit to Meersel-Dreef, the information board describing the buildings history was so long that I have broken it up into two parts: posted yesterday and today.

The board was only in Dutch so I’ve translated it here: “The French revolution: When the French revolution spilled over into this area, the State taxed all religious goods.

In early 1797 the monks were driven out of the monastery. After the Belgium independence was proclaimed, Trappist monks from Westmalle started to use the monastery on 3rd May 1838.

About 30 years later the Kapucijnen monks returned and spiritual life in Meersel-Dreef returned. The Maria Park and the Lourdes grotto date back from 1895. Foundation of the “Valley of Mercy of Our lady of Lourdes”.

After the Maria appearance in Lourdes in 1858 and the renewed interest in pilgrimages, Meersel-Dreef was also given it’s ‘Valley of Mercy’.

Father Jan Baptist, Provincial of Belgium left on a mission to the Punjab in English India in 1895. On the way his ship came into a big storm during which he promised to make a grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes so that he would reach shore safely. He managed to arrive safely so he decided to stand by his promise. In June 1896 he laid the first stone for the Lourdes grotto at Meersel-Dreef in the garden opposite the monastery.

The watermill. In general it is thought that the watermill if Meersel-Dreef already existed in the 14 century, evidenced from a document which describes the renting of the mill “Meerselmolen’ and the farm de Eyssel from Jan IV Van Cuyck, Lord of Hoogstraten.

Like all mills in the duchy of Hoogstraten, the mill of Meersel was a “banmolen” (which means) a mill owned by the feudal lords where the locals where obliged to mill their grains (and pay for the privilege).

The mill was rented out early in the 17 century, and a canal was dug to bypass the mill allowing boats to sail further up the canal. At the beginning of the 20th century the mill burnt down (again) so in 1911 the mill was restored and modernised. This grinding installation is still operational. Opposite the mill is the mill house which was built in 1894. The old mill store house, next to the house, is still used as a house today.’

Try as we might, and with our short walk around just part of the buildings, we found it hard to pinpoint exactly where the mill now is. There was an abundance of outbuildings, some of them possibly dwellings but if one of them was the millhouse, or just part of the buildings and monastery from the Kapucijnen monks, we could not tell.

That said, there was probably a lot more possible to explore but we of course stayed where our hosts lead rather than branching out separately on our own. The Meersel-Dreef buildings continued to delight and as usual I was interested in not just the complex as a whole but also the details. For instance, I love that one window that has diamond shaped panes, opens with nine of the diamonds near the center opening out as one small window. It proves that function and practicality need not ruin the beautiful design, you just work with it and get a quirky diamond-shaped window! Brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 2, 2017

A Few Of My Many Snapshots Of The Hague…

The Hague has many interesting buildings and sights. This photographic post shows just a few…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the same building a few days later…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 24, 2017

Spotted Around The Hague…

Today’s post is a photographic one: camera on hand, I take photographs on the move, this time these places were spotted around The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 5, 2017

A Change Of Direction And A Rest Before Setting Off Again…

Filed under: ART,GOUDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture,Stone Carving,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On my first visit to Gouda I managed to see just one end of the St Jans kerk (St Johns Church), by my second visit I managed to get around the rest.

Just before entering the  “Tuin van het Willem Vroesenhuys” (Garden of the Willem Vroesenuys) I got a few photographs from by the Tapijt Huis: taken over the canal looking back towards the church.

Some large trees overhung the water so I didn’t immediately see the couple who walking past on the other side.

They then also paused to look at the canal and I suddenly saw their reflections in the water as I took photographs of the little boat in the water, so in a round about way I ended up taking photos of them too.

Then later, on the other side of the park I saw a beautiful small building that looked like a chapel (but may or may not have been) and a small path that led over the canal and back around the other side of the church. After crossing the bridge I find a  stone wall with a doorway, and in the arch above the door, a stone bust of man. There was no indication of any name and he looks rather austere but must have been very important to have gotten this honour. The path immediately widens to become a small lane that services the rear side of the many cafés, restaurants and bars, and the homes above them. The church looms large over the rest of the neighbourhood, it’s changing roof structure continuing for the rest of it’s long length. This one little garden has hidden many surprises, and the bonus that it was also a still, peaceful place to pause and take a rest.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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September 1, 2017

As Revolutionary As The Creation Of The Internet…

Filed under: ART,GOUDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The  “Tuin van het Willem Vroesenhuys” (Garden of the Willem Vroesenuys) has not just a statue of Erasmus, but also a statue by Roel Bendijk of a man operating an early printing press, this man being of course:  Gheraert Leeu, another famous son of Gouda.

Gheraert Leeu (also spelled Leew, Lyon, Leonis), (Gouda, approx. 1445-1450 – Antwerp, 1492) was a Dutch printer and publisher of  incunabula. (Illuminated manuscripts).

The Dutch Wikipedia entry for Leeu contains considerably more information than the English translation on the same page so I have translated most of the Dutch text here:

“In the Middle Ages before the invention of the printing press, monks would reproduce countless manuscripts by hand, and add beautifully colored illuminations. With the invention of the first primitive wooden block printing presses and then loose-print printing presses (approx. 1445)  books could be printed.

In Gouda, his native town, Gheraert Leeu had a printing company on the Market (or in the Koestraat).
On the eve of Pentecost in 1477, he published his first book entitled “All Epistles and Bible stories of all the years”. This was probably also the first book in Gouda, printed in this modern way.

It was not the first book printed in the Northern Netherlands however; In other cities, such as Haarlem, Utrecht and Deventer, printed works had already appeared before 1477.

Gheraert Leeu printed in his time in Gouda (1477-1484) approximately 69 works.  This can be seen as a huge achievement when considering primitive material being worked with. These are beautiful books, so Leeu can be counted as the most important early Dutch incunabellers.

The Gouda City Library has twelve copies of his printed work from that period.  The woodcuts he used to illustrate his work are especially important. Several of these, it can be assumed, were lent to other printers, such as at Snellaert in Delft. Also the woodcut series ‘From the Seven Sacraments’, of 1484, were made in Gouda.

Leeu often placed a colophon at the end of the texts, which he described as follows: “This book was printed in Gouda, in Holland by me Gheraert Leeu on the (day) of (month) Anno (date in roman numerals),”

Well known are the various “Dialogus creaturarum” editions, with special woodcuts. The first Latin edition was published on June 3rd 1480, and the Dutch translation on April 4th 1481. Five of the Latin editions of the Dialogus creaturarum in the Netherlands came from its presses. Three of them printed in Gouda, the other two in Antwerp.

Leeu also had a lot of initiative and courage; he brought out many first editions. In August 1479  he published the first print of  “The history of Reynaert the Fox.   From his press came also the first French translation of the Dialogus in 1482, (from Latin) a year earlier than the French edition in Lyon.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some of his other publications are: The history of Great King Alexander (1477) / The table of Christian lives (1478) / The suffering and passion of the Lord Jhesu Christi (1477, 1479, 1482) / The mirror of Christian belief  (1478) / Jacobus the Voragine’s Passionael winter and summer … (play?) (1478, 1480) / About the seven sacraments (1484) / The four extremes (1482) / Devote tidings and life of Jesus Christ / Jhesu Christi (1484) / Gemmula vocabulorum (1484, Antwerp).

Leeu published not only theological and didactic books. He put everything on his presses: Book of Hours / Christian devotional book and prayer books, the lives of saints, the statutes of the diocese of Utrecht, the law of Eike von Repgow, the Saksenspiegel, (mediaeval law book) and also political pamphlets. In addition, almanacs, a treatise against the plague, forecasts and travel descriptions, including Marco Polo.

He is also the printer of “the chronicle or the history of Holland, of Zeeland and of Utrecht ” (1478). Later this work became known as the “Goudsche Cronyckje (chronicle )”.

In addition to printing works in Latin and Dutch, he reprinted some of William Caxton’s editions for the English market. These were The History of Jason, The History of Paris and Vienne and The Chronicles of England.
In 1484 Gheraert Leeu left for Antwerp, where he was stabbed and died in 1492 during a fight with one of his typesetters.”

In my opinion Leeu and others like him are some of the most important people in history: I know he did not invent the printing press but making reading matter available to the masses was, in my opinion as big a technical leap forward as the development of the internet has been in our lifetime. When I studied Art I majored in graphics, especially in Printing so the printing press, well specifically printed illustrations, are topic very close to my heart.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia; Gheraert Leeu (or known as:  Leew, Lyon, Leonis) / Dutch printer of incunabula. (Dutch Text)
Wikipedia / Incunable
Wikipedia / Sachsenspiegel
Wikipedia / Colophon (publishing)
Wikipedia / Getijdenboek / Book of Hours
Wikipedia / Dialogus creaturarum /  Collection 122 Latin-language fables , dialogues of creatures. First book ever printed in Sweden (1483).

August 31, 2017

The World Travels Of Erasmus, He Flew High And Got His Feet Wet…

Filed under: ART,GOUDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Statues / Sculpture,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst himself and Little Mr were busy in Gouda’s specialist Lego shop during our summer weekends, I took several visits around the city centre.

In some places it was hard going with the wheelchair so I was pleased to find the little garden that I passed by earlier empty and peaceful.

The shade was also welcome because I’d forgotten to bring sun-screen.

My crutches were on the back of the wheelchair so instead of attempting to wheel myself over the grass I used the crutches and stretched out my back a bit at the same time.

At the entrance to the garden there are two signs, the first says “Tuin van het Willem Vroesenhuys” (Garden of the Willem Vroesenhuys) and the second has a text in Dutch, referring to one of the two statues in the garden and which translated here reads:

Erasmus was born in 1469 as the illegitimate son of a Gouda priest and his housekeeper. In Gouda he attended the Latin school. After a stay in Deventer and Utrecht he entered a monastery just outside Gouda where he continued his studies in a rich library and here he wrote his first books and letters. This bust is a pre-war work by Hildo Krop. originally it was to be placed in Batavia (Jakarta).

After the state of Indonesia as proclaimed it was to be re-sited in Paramaribo but instead the statue ended up as a scarecrow in the rice paddies. It was saved and for a long time it stood in a Surinamese garden. Eventually “Erasmus’ returned to the city of his childhood.’  Wow, this poor statue has had quite a journey around the world and a very interesting time of things.  It is nice to see that from now on this bust rests in this little garden, available for the public to see and enjoy. It was difficult to get photographs of the face in the shade but I did my best. Erasmus I think, was probably very relieved to see his home town again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Another information plaque on the statue itself…

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August 27, 2017

Poking Out His Tongue At History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just behind the Lazarus Gate in Gouda is the Katharina Gasthuis museum.

I noticed when going past the Gate that there was a face starting at me on the wall nearby.

This face was not of a real person, and more specifically, it was wooden, or maybe stone, head.

The face of the male head is poking his tongue out towards the viewer. Whilst photographing this an older couple walk past, and I say “Good Morning” in Dutch.

The gentleman asks if I know the meaning behind this head. I tell them I don’t so they explain that it’s an old fashioned sign for an apothecary.

I know that an apothecary is someone who prepares and sells drugs for medical purposes, but didn’t realise that this was a sign for one.

The couple tell me that these “signs’ told people what various shops sold, for instance the poking out tongue of this face is a gesture of taking a pill, and signs like this were because the vast majority of people could not read, so needed a visual guide rather than a written one. I think it’s a brilliant solution, and delighted that this one still survives. I take photographs of the surrounding buildings before I move on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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August 25, 2017

Lazarus Gate, The Only “Warning” Needed, Is That This Is A Beautiful Building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the beginning of the Willem Vroesenplein in Gouda, I come across a sweet little building.

Called the “Lazaruspoortje” (Lazarus Gate) it is a small but imposing piece of architecture.

There is an information board on the wall, in Dutch text only, which translates as: “At the end of the 16th century the German Gregarious Cool (approx 1570-1629) came to Gouda to work as a stone mason.

He made beautiful pieces, amongst others the “Bordes” (steps that go both in two directions) of the Gouda Stadhuis (Town Hall), the entry gate to the “Vroesenhuis” (sorry, I could not figure out this word, it’s “something”.. house), the facade of the Museum De Moriaan and this gate.

A long time ago it provided access to the Le Prozenhuis (lepers house) elsewhere in the city.

The relief shows the bible story of poor Lazarus and the rich man. In 1939 the gate was taken apart and rebuilt here in 1964.

Against the back wall is another gate coming from the old women’s house at the Kleiweg which was demolished in 1938. Inside the entry way there is also a “Gevelsteen” ( literally means “gable-stone”, but it is a pictorial or text facade stone that gives information)  also made by Cool of the former Looyhal” (a place used to check and inspect fabric).”

I also found a Wikipedia page that was in the Dutch language only, which gives more information. Translated into English it reads:

The Lazaruspoortje was constructed in 1609 as an entry gate for the then lepers house at the Gouwe in Gouda, by the sculptor Gregarious  Cool. Initially the lepers house was located outside the “potterspoort” (potters gate) in Gouda at the Wachtelstraat.

In 1579 the then Saint Maria convent at the Gouwe which was within the city walls, was the designated place to house lepers. In 1609 the gate at the Rotterdamse Veer was constructed which provided access to the lepers house at the back.

The picture on the gate depicts the rich man and poor Lazarus, who asks for the crumbs left over from the rich mans meal, but all he gets is the care of the dogs who lick his wounds.  The man and woman from both sides of the picture are lepers holding a “Lazarusklepper” (which could be some sort of warning sign ‘here is a leper, stay away”) and a “aalmoezenschaaltje” (a small begging bowl).

Above is a picture of Lazarus, after his death, in the lap of Abraham. Lazarus became the patron saint of Lepers. In 1940 the gate was taken apart as a result of the  expansion of the Municipal energy company. In 1965 it was rebuilt in it’s current location at Achter de Kerk. At the moment it provides access to the garden of the museum Het Katharina Gasthuis.”

I would love to come back here when the gate is open, not just to see the additional stone carved ornamentation within the entry way but also to visit the Katharina Gasthuis museum. Lazarus may have made a noise to warn people to stay away, but this place needs one to summon people to see this beautiful sight.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia: Lazarus Gate / Gouda / The Netherlands (Dutch Language site only)

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