Artwork Data


Moeder Aarde


Nico Onkenhout






h. 43 cm

Artwork Location


Zwedenburg, Den Haag

City district

Haagse Hout

GPS data

52.0917494268932, 4.36157692508007 View on map

Artwork Description


It has settled on the earth and it springs from it. In this duality there is no doubt but imagination. Sculptor Nico Onkenhout has created a true 'Mother Earth' with the woman who almost melts into the ground. She is the personification of our earth, which we have known since time immemorial as the goddess mother and as a symbol of life and fertility. In her rich soil, seeds germinate and plants grow. She feeds us like a mother feeds her child.

Onkenhout's bronze sculpture has stood in a shopping square in Swedenburg since 1976. How he made the model for this sculpture is unknown. It was certainly not a wax model. Although this was widely used at the time, Onkenhout did not like it. He was a real sculptor. After Krop,' he once said, 'I am actually the only real stonemason. He regarded carving as an artistic contest. He also carved sculptures in wood. He did sculpt, but with plaster. His famous bronze statue of 'Dik Trom', unveiled in 1973 in Hoofddorp, was preceded by a plaster model. The same applies to his stone sculpture of Queen Wilhelmina (1968) in the Amsterdam Confectionary Centre. These examples make it plausible that the model for 'Mother Earth' was also made of plaster.

The bronze sculpture was created in 1963, exactly twenty years after Onkenhout graduated from the Amsterdam Rijksakademie, where he was taught by the renowned professor Jan Bronner (1881-1972). Taking the sturdy, static forms of the sculptures of the 1930s as his example, Onkenhout developed his own sensitive visual language: sober, stylised and yet lively. The forms of 'Mother Earth' are soft, round and calm. Onkenhout's education was certainly also influenced by his appreciation of the famous British sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986). Perhaps his reclining, stylised and abstracted female figures inspired him to his 'Mother Earth': a classic beauty.