Kalvermarkt 32, Den Haag
52.078354007246, 4.316794060852 View on map
It is easy to walk past them. Four statues on metre-high hexagonal pillars. They are two men and two women, naked or almost naked, made around 1954 by Dirk Bus (the sculptures in the middle) and Hans Reicher (the sculptures on the outside). For a long time, Vigilance, Peace, War and Protection were put away, but on 13 January 1998 they were hoisted - restored - to their high post in front of the Ministry of Defence on Kalvermarkt.
The figurative sculptures represent the modern interpretation of the classical ideal of beauty, typical of the architectural sculpture of the reconstruction period. And thus fit well with the formal appearance of the brick building designed by Chief Government Architect Gijsbert Friedhoff and assistant Mart Bolten. In the interplay between sculpture and architecture, Reicher and Bus took their role as 'explicators' seriously: the four personifications, more than man-sized, underline the meaning of the building.
On the far right is a sturdy Roman general. He holds one hand by his cape and the other rests loosely on his thigh. The dog at his feet looks up to him: the symbol of loyalty, but also of vigilance. A graceful female nude is placed on the column next to him. On her right hand is a dove, which refers to Peace. War is depicted as a warrior with a sword resting on the ground. Protection, finally, is a woman lovingly holding a child.
Bus and Reicher were both active as sculptors in the post-war period. Reicher came to the Netherlands from Germany. He first settled in The Hague and moved to Amsterdam in 1937. Most of his works of art, including war memorials, can be found there. The twelve years younger Bus lived and worked all his life in The Hague, where he received commissions for sculptures in public spaces, including many constructional plastic works.