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 can be found on Campus Woudestein of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It is a late image of Van Iersel; a free bronze that has parallels in form and content with its smaller sculptures. The work has no official title, but at EUR it is known as 'Alma Mater', which is Latin for nourishing or caring mother. It is an optimistic and warm image that provides shelter and where everyone must feel at home. The idea of combining the abstract scale (a purely artistic choice) with a human figure fits in with 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 was later chairman of the Executive Board of the Dutch Economic College and chairman of the Executive Board of the EUR. When the artist heard about twenty years later that his creation by EUR employees'Alma Mater"was mentioned," he responded flattered.
Ger van Iersel (Rotterdam, 1922 - 2014) studied at the Rotterdam Art Academy and then sought his job 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 has worked in various techniques. Much of his work is connected to the reconstruction period, when he worked for the new port city. His work often had a Christian undertone, in keeping with the various assignments he received from churches in and around Rotterdam. He was a student of Louis van Roode and received the Laurenspenning and the Lutherpenning for his work.