A trip of two weeks to Armenia and Georgia resulted in many new pictures of equestrian statues in these countries. Some statues were very special. I liked the one in Poti (Georgia) of Tsotne Dadiani with an eagle on his shoulder most. Although not a statue but a sculpture I would like to mention also the impressive Saint George by Zurab Tsereteli in his birthplace Tbilisi in Georgia. Worth mentioning is that the statues in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, were very well documented. Each of the five equestrian statues there had a sign with (also in english) the name of the rider, the date of inauguration and the names of the sculptor and the architect. Never seen that before. It was also clear that both countries were christened with the sword in the one hand and the holy cross in the other. See for instance the statue of Mamikonian in Gyumri and of Ashot II in Ljevan.
The website has been updated with the pictures.
Since March I have travelled through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and Russia. Most of the trips were not meant to photograph new statues, but nevertheless I could make pictures of quite a number of statues. They are on this website now.
In Russia I realised once again that it is one of the few countries in the world that honour their poets and writers with a statue, but none of them rides a horse. Given the endless series of more or less identical and mostly boring Lenin statues, I am glad that he has never been portrayed on a horse. But how long will it be before there is an equestrian statue of President Putin? He has been pictured already riding a horse stripped to the waist.
Good news is that, a few months ago, my book on equestrian statues (From Marcus Aurelius to Kim Jong Il) has been sold out. More or less to my surprise as I did not spend much time and effort on the promotion of the book. There is apparently room for books on this topic. A new book? Who knows.
We spent last weekend in the beautiful medieval towns of Mechelen, Dendermonde and Ghent in Belgium. In Dendermonde and Ghent some nice sculptures of The four sons of Aymon. See this website.
A new equestrian statue will be erected in Weert (The Netherlands). The Dutch sculptor Jos Dirix is working on a statue of Philips de Montmorency, in the Netherlands better known as the Count of Hoorne. He was beheaded in Brussels in 1568, early in the Eighty Years’ war, a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against Philips II of Spain. The Count of Hoorne was beheaded because of his tolerance to Protestantism. He was condemned by Alessandro Farnese (the Duke of Alba) who was sent by Philips II to the Low Countries to oppress the uprising. See Piacenza in Italy for his marvelous equestrian statue.
A life size bronze sculpture of a Bashkir horseman by the Russian sculptor Alexander Taratynov was presented to the public in Veessen (The Netherlands) on the shore of the river IJssel. The monument commemorates the first Bashkir regiment, which in November 1813 placed a ship-bridge across the IJssel river during the campaign of the Sixth Coalition in The Netherlands against Napoléon.
Time for an update.
The sale of the book has been successful. Within half a year, 93% of the first edition has been sold. Only 20 copies (numbered and signed) are still in stock. Not a bad result. Some people state: the copies of this first edition are going to be collectors’ items. May be.
An unforeseen result is that I came to know many nice and interesting people I did not know before. Book collectors, art lovers, horse owners etc. Even a few people who told me that they intended to write a book on equestrian statues. But now, not any more.
I have received worthwhile input for a second edition of the book (if any) and for this website. No less than 15 new equestrian statues, missing names of sculptors, spelling errors etc. All resulting in an improvement of my data. René and Peter van der Krogt deserve a special mention in this context. They are the editors and owners of the interesting website www.vanderkrogt.net.
Another interesting website that I came to know is www.thehorseinart.nl. This website, built and maintained by Boudewijn Commandeur, gives a fascinating overview of the horse in the art.
A special mention has also to be made of the decision of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library) in The Hague, to archive this website for the long term as ‘digital inheritance’ as from september 2017. I feel honored.
Another radio interview. Now in the program’ Spijkers met koppen’.
A steady stream of book orders continues. Today an order for two books from Bruxelles. With the suggestion to come there and to give presentations for international groups. Why not? Next week a presentation in a Dutch bookshop.
Radio interview late in the evening in the popular radio program ‘With an eye on tomorrow’.
An exceptional and positive (four out of five stars) 3-page book review in the Dutch national newspaper ‘The Volkskrant’.
The first order from abroad has been dispatched. To Poland.
Today the presentation of the book took place. More than 90 people showed up in Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam, an historic building close to the the only equestrian statue of Amsterdam. Thomas von der Dunk, publicist and culture historian, gave an enthusiastic presentation on statues of dictators throughout the ages. My presentation was about my voyage to Ithaca (see the introduction to my book). So far 76 copies of the book have been sold and the comments so far, with no exception, are very favourable.
From this weeks’ Economist: The Shivaji Memorial on an artificial island before the coast of Mumbai has to be the highest monument in the world. So it will be 210 meters high (the highest nowadays: The Genghis Khan equestrian statue in Mongolia is 40 meters high). The budget for the Shivaji statue is around US$18 mln. This is seven times what Maharashtra spends on building and maintaining rural roads each year.
The date of the presentation of my book is approaching. Some 80 people have announced to come and 65 copies of the book has been ordered to date. Not bad.
Spent the weekend in Rome. I was not there for the equestrian statues, but as I went along, I couldn’t stop myself taking photographs when I saw them. It is like seeing old acquaintances. I have better pictures now of the giant statue of Vittorio Emanuele, Umberto I, Giuseppe Garibaldi and his wife Anita. The statue of Anita Garibaldi has now a lighter structure than before to keep the statue upright. A little less ugly, but still ugly. Totally new for me was the Monument for the Carabinieri on the Piazza di Risorgimento. Not a statue but a sculpture, as the rider is anonymous.
43 copies of the book has been sold last week and already more than 50 people have announced that they want to attend the presentation.
The preparations for the presentation of the book are ready, so I can send today the invitations to my friends. The presentation will be held in Arti et Amicitiae, an artist’s club near the only equestrian statue in Amsterdam, on May 14. Thomas von der Dunk, cultural historian and publicist, will give a short introduction to the book.
New milestone. The final version of the book has been sent to the printer. It took three weeks of hard work to review the test formats of the edited 424 pages, text and illustrations But together with Ronald and the assistance of Emily is was pleasant work as well.
The result looks really fantastic.
We have decided to print a luxury limited edition of 250. Each copy will be numbered and signed by me. This is going to be a collector’s item.
Milestone. All text of the book is ready including the editing of the English language. Text and pictures are now with Ronald, who now can start with the design of the book
January 9, 2017
Today I have agreed with Ronald Boiten upon the design of my book on equestrian statues. The design is very attractive. I have shown it to some people (friends as well as design professionals) and everybody, without an exception, is enthusiastic. If everything goes as planned, the book will be ready in May.
Being in Pretoria (South Africa) I make use of the opportunity to make pictures of the statues of Andrie Pretorius and Louis Botha. The pictures that I had already, dated from the time that we did not have digital cameras. The Louis Botha statue is special for my wife and myself as it was inaugurated on the day of our birth!
Three different designs for the book were presented. All three very attractive. This is going to be a difficult choice. Fortunately I have two weeks to decide.
In the meantime I will travel to South Africa for a safari with my grandson. I will make use of this opportunity to digitalize the equestrian statues in Pretoria (now Tshwane), one of Louis Botha, the other one of Andries Pretoria.
Emily is doing well with the upload of texts and pictures in this website. Germany is almost ready.
Equestrian statue of Ivan the Terrible recently inaugurated in Oryol in Russia, near the Ukrainian border, causes a lot of dispute. Fool or hero?
We are busy with uploading pictures and texts on this website. A very time consuming job. I am really glad with the help of Emily Knegtel.
Another activity, taking a lot of my time, is the finalization of my book on equestrian statues. The editing of my ‘english’ text is done in the UK. My editor is doing a good job.
Next week the first proof of the book design. I am looking forward to this moment. I’ll keep you informed.
New Statues found
During my last trip to North Germany and Denmark I found two new statues. Graf Günther von Oldenburg in the town with the same name and Queen Margrete I in Roskilde.
april 30, 2016