Mercury (1920) Bon Ingen Housz

Aad Hoogendoorn
About the artwork

On the occasion of the official opening of the town hall on Coolsingel in 1920, three monuments were given a place in the inner garden, including this statue of Mercury. It is a squat figure with a caduceus in its right hand: a staff, around which two snakes are wound. This symbolizes peace, protection and healing and had to allow the courier or negotiator unhindered passage. In Roman mythology he is the god of trade, travelers and profit. The caduceus (staff) symbolizes peace, protection and healing and had to give the courier or negotiator unhindered passage. This work and the image of Neptune on the other side of the garden belong together: mythological figures had a standing that matches the town hall and the academy art. Both bronze statues were made by sculptor Bon Ingen Housz and thrive very well in the town hall garden refurbished in 1997. They stand in geometrically arranged hedges, on either side of the third monument; a hard stone fountain with a bronze children's group made by Simon Miedema. The Mercury resembles the version with which Ingen Housz won the Prix de Rome in 1908.

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About the artist

Bonaventura or Bon Ingen Housz (Breda, 1881 - there, 1953) came from a family of bankers from Breda. He attended the art academy in Brussels, after which he won the Prix de Rome in 1908 and was able to make many study trips abroad. Back in the Netherlands, he received assignments in The Hague and Rotterdam. He made a picture of it for the Rotterdam city hall Mercury en Neptune and a bronze decorative vase. The whistling boy at the Schurmann fountain on Parklaan is also his.

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