Westbroekpark, Den Haag
52.104334998655, 4.2880012760015 View on map
In a dark corner of the rosary, standing out against the dark earth and the tall conifers is a white marble figure: the eyes marked with light grooves, the hands folded on the raised knees. It is the mythical Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. According to the legends, she was in love with the god Theseus, who was locked up in her father's labyrinth. Ariadne saved her lover by guiding him to the exit with a thread. Unfortunately, her love was not reciprocated. The ungrateful Theseus abandoned her on the island of Naxos. The wine god Bacchus finds her in distress. He takes her away and a grand wedding follows in which the wine, of course, flows in abundance.
Nico Onkenhout, the maker of the sculpture, was a traditional sculptor who, in the years before and after the Second World War, was trained at the Rijksakademie by the renowned professor Jan Bronner. Not only in his choice of subjects, but also technically Onkenhout's views on the profession were conservative. He was not interested in new methods: 'they just mess around with scrap', he said about the art students in a local newspaper in 1964. He was a sculptor 'pur sang' who preferred to carve his sculptures and monumental reliefs in stone and wood. In addition, he often made medals, which Bronner said were 'your business card as a sculptor'.
Originally, the statue of Ariadne stood in the park on Moerbeiplein. Together with two other sculptures - including Mother Earth by Onkenhout - it was donated to the municipality by an anonymous lady from The Hague. In the park, the statue was smeared with graffiti and in 1983 it had to be removed in a badly damaged state. Four years later, it was given its current location, in a quiet corner of the rosary. An excellent place to mourn the loss of a loved one.