New Delftse Poort (1995) Cor Kraat

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

The old Delftsche Poort was designed in 1764 by the court architect of Stadtholder Willem IV, Pieter de Swart. He built this gate on the location where the Noorderpoort first stood since the Middle Ages, and later the Sint Jorispoort. The third structure, the Delftsche Poort, survived until 1939 and was the most famous structure in the city. To promote the flow of increased traffic, the municipality had decided to move the gate. Construction activities were in full swing when the city was hit by the bombing in 1940. The foundations of the new gate were also seriously damaged, so it was decided to remove the battered city gate. A great shame, thought artist Cor Kraat. He decided to recreate the gate in its entirety, but then open and spacious. By using modern steel profiles, but also by adding original artifacts and relics, which were still in storage since the bombing. On May 8, 1995, the New Delftse Poort unveiled at the Pompenburg by Prime Minister Wim Kok. That day marked the fiftieth anniversary of the reconstruction. The gate is a steel skeleton 18 meters wide, 13 meters deep and 18 meters high, painted in orange-red red red to which ornaments and relics from the old gate have been added. The open structure of the work makes the New Delftse Poort into a meeting place, a public space for reflection and imagination. The structure looks like a three-dimensional graphic drawing. The artwork appears to be under construction, symbolizing the fact that Rotterdam is still building. There were four personifications on the old gate: Trade and Traffic, the city maiden, the Maas and the Rotte. These figures return stylized on the modern gate. The New Delftse Poort shows the Rotterdam of the 18th century through the imagination of the old city gate.

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About the artist

Cor Kraat (Rotterdam, 1946) was educated at the Rotterdam Academy of Art from 1965 to 1971. From 1979 to 1992, Kraat worked in the artists' collective Kunst & Vaarwerk with Hans Citroen and Willem van Drunen. Kunst & Vaarwerk focused on monumental art in the city. Between 1979 and 1983 Cor Kraat taught screen printing at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Kraat was also co-founder of the Black Cat gallery, a gallery for contemporary visual art on the Mauritsweg from 1978 to 1987.

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