Thalia (1955) Carel Kneulman

BKOR archive
About the artwork

In 1955, Carel Kneulman made this beautiful facade sculpture at the Thalia Theater on the Kruiskade. He imagined here Thalia, the muse of comedy - in Greek mythology, Thalia stands for 'flourishing celebration'. Kneulman is a talented sculptor whose expressive visual language is somewhat reminiscent of Wessel Couzijn, who lent himself to religious themes and to monuments as expressions of freedom. You can still recognize his early fifties in the style of a minne-like human figure that turns into abstractions. You can see a ship in it and a woman's head with an arm pointing towards the entrance. Over the years, the plastic turned greener due to oxidation. The facade relief was carried out at a concrete factory in Arnhem and cast concrete plates into 24. Because a massive work of art against the facade was not possible, Kneulman designed it as a play of lines, free from the muse of the film. The work emphasized the former Thalia cinema, as a witness to the great entertainment culture that has always been so defining in Rotterdam. The cinema has been a café for some time.

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About the artist

Carel Kneulman (Amsterdam, 1915 - Darp, 2008) received his artistic education at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam and worked as a teacher of plastic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. In addition to being a visual artist, he was also a singer, poet and graphic artist. In his images, he sought a balance between figuration and abstraction. In 1955 he made the beautiful facade sculpture at the Thalia Theater on the Kruiskade in Rotterdam, which was considered a tribute to the reconstruction of the city. His best-known image is perhaps The sweetheart (1960) on the Spui in Amsterdam, which became a meeting point for Provo's.

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