Artwork Data


Fluitspeler (Orpeus in de dessa)


Lidi Buma - van Mourik Broekman






h. 115 cm

Partial collection

Gemeentelijk monument

Artwork Location


De Villierskopje, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.0591886866285, 4.28076246785581 View on map

To be found on route

Around Zuiderpark

Artwork Description


A young, insecure youth sitting cross-legged with a flute. The love for the human being radiates from the sculpture. Sculptor Lidi Buma - van Mourik Broekman always made her sculptures with great affection. It is known who was the model for the 'Flute player' from 1942: the now deceased John Breed. According to his daughter Anita Breed, he was approached by his father, who often posed as a clown at the drawing academy on the Prinsessegracht in The Hague, which later became the art academy. That Lidi Buma wanted my father as a model was not without reason. He had a lithe and well-proportioned body with beautiful long limbs. As an acrobat, he performed in the breaks in cinemas and theatres. When he modelled for the 'Flute Player' he was seventeen, a young man between puberty and adulthood.'

John Breed was a purely Dutch boy, but his burgeoning male body could perfectly serve as an example for Buma's depiction of the Javanese boy Si Bengkok. With the statue in the Zuiderpark, Buma honoured writer and journalist Augusta de Wit (1864-1939), in particular her best-known and most successful novella 'Orpheus in the Dessa' from 1903. One of the main characters is the poor Javanese boy Si Bengkok. Just like Orpheus, he plays beautiful, enchanting music. With this, the native boy lures the Dutch engineer Willem Bake. A friendship develops that ultimately costs Si Bengkok his life, just as Orpheus' love for Eurydice cost him his life.

In the simple and recognisable shapes of the 'Flute Player', Buma followed the naturalistic style of her teacher Albert Termote (1887-1978). But without the flamboyance that his images often had. The traditional way of depicting did not prevent Buma from working in a - for the time - very modern material. The 'Flute Player' is in fact one of the first sculptures made of shock concrete in the Netherlands.