Zevenwoudenlaan, Den Haag
52.033617411253, 4.292874215622 View on map
To be found on route
There is a special fountain in the pond on Zevenwoudenlaan between Westergo and Oostergosingel. Not only does this fountain spray cheerfully, it also looks fresh and literally fruity. With a neck of leeks, cheeks of melons and aubergines for eyebrows, this gigantic head seems to have walked straight off a canvas by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593). In 1563, this Italian artist was the first to paint human faces composed of anything but human parts. He composed his heads of fish, flowers, vegetables and fruit.
When visual artist Hans van Bentem was invited by Stroom Den Haag and Ontwikkelingscombinatie Wateringse Veld to create a fountain for this new district, he took the portraits of his sixteenth-century colleague as his starting point. He made a contemporary version of them. More than a man high, two-headed, in colourful glazed clay and reminiscent of the fruit and vegetables that used to be grown in Wateringen in the greenhouses and market gardens. Arcimboldo, entirely in keeping with his own time, mixed science with myth. Just look at the very accurately painted plants and animals from which he constructed his surrealistic-looking faces. Van Bentem uses Arcimboldo's imagery but for a more decorative purpose: a nice-looking fountain. Characteristically, Van Bentem made this fountain using traditional methods. From massive blocks of clay he built up the whole, then hollowed it out, baked it into pieces and finally put it back together again.
In all his work, Van Bentem manages to seduce the viewer. The use of materials and recognisable forms ensure this. The combination of traditional execution and contemporary imagery also makes his work intriguing. Added to this are the memories his work evokes of art from the past. This also applies to the fountain in Wateringse Veld.