Untitled (1941) Jaap Gidding

Max Dereta
About the artwork

The Maas tunnel is the oldest submerged tunnel in the Netherlands. Construction started in 1937 and the tunnel was completed in 1942. There is a ventilation building and associated access building for cyclists and pedestrians on the left and right Meuse banks, which was designed by Ad van der Steur. He was a Rotterdam municipal architect in the 1930s. The façade mosaic above the wooden escalators of artist Jaap Gidding is special in these buildings. The mosaics playfully depict the function of the tunnel. At the bottom you see cars, cyclists and pedestrians, in the middle a circle of waves with fish (the tunnel in the water), above that ships and boats and at the very top the birds in the sky. Two Neptune figures are depicted on the mosaic on the north side, and two mermaids on the mosaic on the south side. In 2006 the entrance buildings including mosaics have been restored to their former glory. The Maas Tunnel was declared a National Monument in 2012.

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About the artist

Designer Jaap Gidding (Rotterdam, 1887 - Rotterdam, 1955) was one of the most versatile Dutch designers of the first half of the 20 century. He was educated in Rotterdam in the painting business of his father Jan Gidding, where Willem de Kooning also started his career. Gidding continued his studies in Munich and Berlin. Among other things, he designed wall and ceiling paintings, mosaics, fabrics, wallpaper, glass, ceramics, stained glass windows and interiors of many cinemas. But most famous are his carpet designs, in particular the colorful carpet in the hall of the Tuschinski theater in Amsterdam. For Rotterdam, Gidding made the mosaic of the GJ de Jongh monument and the mosaics on both sides above the escalators of the Maas tunnel for cyclists.

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