Artwork Data


Het schillenpaard van de Schilderswijk


Axel van der Kraan, Helena van der Kraan






h. 150 cm

Artwork Location


Hannemaplantsoen, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.068344730432, 4.3106652350744 View on map

Artwork Description


What would a monument for the Schilderswijk look like? That question was put to artist couple Axel and Helena van der Kraan. During their research, the duo came across many lists. The 'peeling horse' was often listed first. Much of the old disappeared from the neighbourhood: houses, shops, peelings collectors, ragpickers. Much came in its place, certainly. But the 'peeling horse' stood for the irreversible, it became the symbol of that which never returns. The question was thus answered. In 1989, the Van der Kraans designed 'The Schillenpaard of the Schilderswijk'.

Does the ideal workhorse in the Hannemanplantsoen reflect a nostalgic feeling or a critical comment? It reminds one of times gone by and evokes a sense of nostalgia. The peeling collector, who came to the houses by horse and cart, disappeared from the street decades ago. In the image, one can recognise the horse that trudged in front of the cart.

Yet the Van der Kraans' did not stop there. Their art is permeated with pessimistic mockery and a pessimistic view of mankind. In the early eighties of the 20th century, they made wooden, monotonously moving dolls, with which they commented on mechanically acting man. Their later knights, soldiers and tanks are an undisguised criticism of violence and aggression.

Behind the romantic image that the stylised, well-proportioned work horse evokes, there is a mild commentary from the artists. Here the criticism is much more friendly in tone than in their other work, but we can still taste the hopelessness and sadness. For the horse stands sadly with its head down. The animal may have been relieved of its duties and be worshipped on its high plinth as the primal form of the 'peeling horse', but it also embodies the poverty and hardship of its time.