Erasmus (1937) Leendert Bolle

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

The use of Erasmus as a famous Rotterdammer took off, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries. Some of these works of art date from before the war, when the city resembled the Rotterdam of Erasmus more closely. For example, his portrait is on the facade of the Erasmian Gymnasium, of which he is, after all, the namesake. This gymnasium was first located on the Coolsingel where the building was lost in May 1940. With that, the gable tympanum sculpted by Stracké also fell, on which Erasmus was depicted full-length with pupils on either side. But the Erasmian Gymnasium had already built a new building on Wytemaweg before the war, opposite the current Erasmus MC, where sculptor Leendert Bolle had made a portrait relief of the humanist on the side wall in 1937. The portrait is caught between human figures. The hard lines that Bolle gives to Erasmus give him a solid appearance – here stands a firm thinker. The human figures are depicted in a more undulating and less spatial way, as a counterpart to increase the contrasts and above all as a visible expression of faith and struggle - the human quests. This is how Bolle summarizes life, with a very serene Erasmus in the middle as someone who has answers, and whose headgear fits under the window in such a way that it looks like the keystone of a bridge.

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About the artist

Leendert Bolle (Rotterdam, 1879 - Rheden, 1942) wanted to become a painter and therefore visited the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam and the Académie Julian in Paris. He eventually became a sculptor and made monuments and tokens. He worked in America for a number of years and settled in 1913 in Rotterdam, where he has realized various works.

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