Westbroekpark, Den Haag
52.103563139994, 4.2900761250179 View on map
A young man hangs longingly forward to get a good look at the seductively dancing and singing creatures on the other side. In two separate bronzes, sculptor Everdine Schuurman tells a story from classical antiquity: 'Odysseus and the Sirens' by the writer Homer. In the middle of the pond of the Rosarium in Westbroek Park we see the hero Odysseus on his imaginary ship. A little further to the side are the two Sirens, bird-like creatures with women's heads. On their way home to the island of Ithaca, Odysseus and his men encounter these mythological creatures. Odysseus knows the danger of the Sirens, who lure sailors to their island with their irresistible magical singing, where their ship will run aground. Therefore, Ulysses had himself tied to the mast of his ship and, as a precaution, had his men plug up their ears with wax.
A storyteller in bronze and stone. That is how Schuurman can best be characterised. She studied under the famous sculptors Jan Bronner (1881-1972) at the Amsterdam Rijksakademie and Bon Ingen Housz (1881-1953) at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. While sculptors abroad had been making abstract sculptures, assemblages and spatial constructions for around twenty years, both teachers still thought strongly in terms of figuration. A sculpture had to be clear and distinctive and above all recognisable. Thus, at the end of the 1920s, Schuurman was trained in the academic spirit of the 19th century.
As her sculpture 'Odysseus and the Sirens' shows, she did not deny her origins. Figuration became her language. But in style and execution, Schuurman has gone her own way. For while Bronner's and Ingen Houz's sculptures appear rather static and austere, Schuurman uses a lively, flowery and detailed language.