Untitled (1940) Leendert Bolle

photo Max Dereta
About the artwork

At the old main entrance of Diergaarde Blijdorp, on the east side of Van Aerssenlaan, seven animal sculptures stand on seven columns, made by the Rotterdam sculptor Leendert Bolle. Diergaarde Blijdorp was designed in its entirety by architect Sybold van Ravesteyn, who was commissioned to do so in 1938. In 1937, the city council decided that the zoo had to move out of the center due to urban development. The curved line is prominent throughout Van Ravesteyn's design. The combination of neo-baroque elements, such as columns and balustrades, with contemporary building materials and functionalist elements, which is typical for Van Ravesteyn, is also very recognizable. The architecture is enlivened by sculptures and ornaments made by various painters and sculptors, including Charles van Eyck, Jo Uiterwaal, Leendert Bolle, Agnes Canta and Dick Effers. The buildings were created as gesamtkunstwerk. Bolle was commissioned by Van Ravesteyn to make a number of decorative ornaments at the entrance. The sculptures are playful, strong in their simplification and recognizable for the Zoo. The seven double columns with ornaments mark the old entrance of the Diergaarde with a grand and appropriate gesture, so that the entrance can be experienced as an experience. The seven animals depicted are seahorse, bird, dolphin, elephant, snake, lion and two monkeys. On December 7, 1940, the new zoo was officially opened. Since 2004, various buildings of Diergaarde Blijdorp have been declared a national monument, including the entrance gate by Van Ravesteyn, which also includes the seven animal sculptures by Leendert Bolle.

read more
About the artist

Leendert Bolle (Rotterdam, 1879 - Rheden, 1942) wanted to become a painter and therefore visited the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam and the Académie Julian in Paris. He eventually became a sculptor and made monuments and tokens. He worked in America for a number of years and settled in 1913 in Rotterdam, where he has realized various works.

read more