Peace Angel (1920) Johan Keller

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

On top of the tower of the town hall on the Coolsingel is a golden one Peace Angel by visual artist Johan Keller. The very tip of this sculpture reaches a height of 75 meters; the statue itself is 3,5 meters. The Rotterdam City Hall was built between 1914 and 1920 to a design by Professor Henri Evers. A municipal explanatory memorandum from 1916 states why an angel was chosen: 'Peace figure in memory of the peace that the Netherlands was allowed to maintain in this time of war, thanks to government policy'. A subcommittee noted that in 1916 it was hoped that peace would be restored on earth when the town hall opened, 'therefore an angel is recommended'. The Peace Angel is a gift from Mr. and Mrs. W. Rueb, a manufacturer who lived at 1916 Mauritsweg around 65. In 1979, the statue was drastically refurbished and covered with a new layer of gold through a complicated process. 70 booklets of double tower gold (10 by 10 cm) were used for this. Lightning regularly strikes the angel, but the lightning conductors work excellently: the angel is not damaged by them.

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About the artist

Johan Keller (The Hague, 1863 - The Hague, 1944) was a Dutch sculptor and painter. As a teenager, Keller started studying to become an artist. First at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, then in Brussels and then in Florence. Afterwards he lived a lot in Paris and England. He often worked for architects to decorate buildings with sculptures.

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