The pelican (1948) Johan van Berkel

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

Since 31 in March 1948 stands on a brick base on the edge of the Kralingse forest a large white-gray bird; the pelican made by sculptor Johan van Berkel. The statue is made of sand-lime brick. The pelican sits with spread wings on her nest with young. The whole is figurative, but somewhat stylized. The statue is located on the site where the Roman Catholic hidden church stood from 1650 to 1802. The pelican pecking itself in the breast to feed its young is a Christian theme. It is a biblical metaphor for Christ, who sacrificed himself for humanity. “For Catholic Kralingen a reminder of the revival of Roman Catholic worship in these areas, but also for all Kralingers a sign to reflect on the wonderful history of the village, which underwent to be more prosperous.. "

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About the artist

Johan van Berkel (1913-1956) was a Dutch sculptor. Between 1927 and 1937 he learned the art of sculpting in the evening classes at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. He was a plasterer during the day and later taught at a technical school. He was described as a promising artist at the time, but he died at a relatively young age.

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