Westbroekpark Speelweiden, Den Haag
52.103616925895, 4.2933083732777 View on map
It is certainly an exceptional rendition of a moment from 'The Raising of Lazarus'. According to the official Bible text, his sisters Martha and Mary, and Jesus are usually present. But the Amsterdam sculptor Carel Kneulman chose to place an angel beside Lazarus. He depicted a loving union and named his sculpture 'Lazarus learns to walk again'. Kneulman set up the bronze in amorphous forms: on the right Lazarus wrapped in wrappings, on the left the angel, presumably Archangel Gabriel, who supports Lazarus as he has just risen from the dead.
Kneulman made this sculpture in 1982. By then he had already been a leading representative of expressionist sculpture in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. He practised a fierce expressionism, in which there was room for both social and religious themes and in which, besides abstraction, there was also room for figuration. He made, for instance, the 'Lieverdje', which was unveiled on the Spui in Amsterdam in 1959. The statue symbolised the street urchins, but grew to symbolise a lively, but sometimes also difficult and brutal Amsterdam.
For Kneulman, figuration did not stand in the way of experimentation. Together with sculptors such as Wessel Couzijn (1912-1984) and Shinkichi Tajiri (1923), he briefly formed 'The Amsterdam Group' in 1959. It was a small club of sculptors who felt connected by their innovative visual language, which only generated interest in a select circle of collectors and museums. By the end of the sixties, their art was more widely appreciated. For Kneulman, large-scale commissions from the government followed, such as the 'Monument Wind and Water' in Veere. The large dynamic sculpture appears to be composed of two intertwined figures, like a vertical winding of bodies. Such an entanglement can also be observed in 'Lazarus' in the Westbroek Park. Only there the figures stand next to each other, and so close that they merge.