Untitled ('Alma Mater') (1983) Ger van Iersel
Although Van Iersel is best known for his windows, like many other monumental artists of his generation, he was well versed in many other techniques, such as ceramics, textiles, wood and bronze. His most important bronze statue is on Campus Woudestein of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It is a late image of Van Iersel; a free bronze, which has parallels in form and content with his smaller sculptures. The work has no official title, but at EUR it is known as 'Alma Mater', which is Latin for nurturing or caring mother. It is an optimistic and warm image that provides shelter and where everyone should feel at home. The combination of the abstract scale (a purely artistic choice) with a human figure also fits in that idea. The statue was unveiled on November 8, 1983 by the chairman of the Rotterdam University Fund Foundation, who donated the statue. The sculpture is a tribute to Mr BJ de Boer, the secretary of the Board of Trustees, who later was chairman of the Executive Board of the Netherlands Economic College and chairman of the Executive Board of EUR. When the artist heard about twenty years later that his creation by EUR employees'Alma Mater', he responded flattered.
Ger van Iersel (Rotterdam, 1922 - 2014) studied at the Rotterdam Art Academy and then went to work in Rotterdam. There he was active as a sculptor, monumental artist, glass painter, painter, draftsman, wall painter and ceramist. He has many monumental works of art to his name and worked in various techniques. Much of his work is linked to the reconstruction period, when he worked for the new port city to be established. His work often had a Christian undertone, in keeping with the various commissions he received from churches in and around Rotterdam. He was a student of Louis van Roode and received the Laurens Medal and the Luther Medal for his work.