Simon van Leeuwen
h. 168 cm
Hildo Krop is one of the most prominent sculptors of the Amsterdam School (1916-1926). He made a name for himself with his many sculptures on buildings and bridges and in squares, particularly in Amsterdam. In this light, it is not surprising that Krop was asked by Chief Government Architect G.C. Bremer in 1938 to contribute to the refurbishment of the 1861 Supreme Court building on the Plein. Six larger-than-life statues of historical jurists were to be placed on the steps. Free-standing, bronze statues that were to accentuate the identity of the building.
Strict and balanced; these are characteristics of Krop's style. They certainly apply to his statue of the famous jurist Simon van Leeuwen (1626-1682), who looks straight ahead and is depicted frontally. Krop achieves balance by carefully selecting the position of his arms and legs: the left leg slightly backwards, the right arm and hand with the law book just slightly forward. The law book undoubtedly refers to both the function of the building and to Van Leeuwen.
Book of law, position of arms and legs, facial expression; that is where Krop had the freedom of choice. There will undoubtedly have been restrictive conditions with this commission, as evidenced by the seated position of all the high men. From 1988 to 2016, they stood on a small square in Kazernestraat, in front of the new building housing the Supreme Court. At the end of the 1980s, the Supreme Court building on the Plein was demolished. It had to make way for the new building for the Lower House of Parliament. In Kazernestraat, the sculptures temporarily lost their function in the 'Gesamtkunstwerk' of building and sculptures. The move to the new building on Korte Voorhout solved that problem. In front of this new building, they once again come into their own.