Untitled (1960) Bob Zijlmans

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

The Sint Bavo Church was designed by architect HNM Nefkens (1918-2018) and has several works of art by the Rotterdam artist Bob Zijlmans. The facade mosaic is next to the entrance Saint Bavo, mThe entire south facade is also a work of Zijlmans. This stained-glass concrete wall seems to have been one of his greatest commissions, in which he follows Catholic iconography. It is not very visible from the outside, but the work is mainly intended to be seen from the inside. From left to right you can see in the colored glass: The Last Supper, the Passion of Christ (the cross surrounded by images of the Garden of Olives, the hand washing of Pilate, the scourge, crown of thorns and nails, the robe, the dice and the crowing rooster) and the Resurrection in the form of a resurrecting Phoenix. In post-war Rotterdam, the Phoenix (or Firebird) had acquired extra significance as a symbol of reconstruction. Zijlmans has conceived of the art applications for this church as a whole. As a Catholic artist, he joined in ecclesiastical visual traditions and iconography. The Sint Bavo Church was given the status of a national monument in 2019. As a Gesamtkunstwerk, architecture with visual art, this church is a beautiful reminder of the time when Pendrecht was formed.

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About the artist

Marinus (known as Bob) Zijlmans (Rotterdam, 1918 - there, 1992) grew up in a Catholic family. He attended the Antwerp art academy as a student of Constant Permeke, as well as the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam. After the war Zijlmans traveled a lot and lived in England and Indonesia for a few years. After that he developed into a painter and monumental artist. He made mosaics, glass-in-concrete walls, (glass) paintings and sculptures. The human figure was a constant factor in his work. Zijlmans mainly worked on commission in Rotterdam and he was a member of the General Catholic Artists Association (AKKV). Mid 1950-1960, Zijlmans received a lot of press with his paintings and drawings of human figures, akin to the silence in the work of Dolf Henkes. In the 1970s he takes part in a group exhibition in De Doelen.

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