From the 15-18th century Flemish handwoven wall-tapestery numbered ten of thousands. Series of four to twelve tapestries were common with Christian representations or pictures of old Greek Myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Very often the Greek Europe myth was part of such a series, but very few can still be traced. A beautiful series decorated the townhall of Nijmegen, Netherlands. They had been bought by the Provence of Gelderland to decorate the townhall for the European peace negotiations of Nijmegen in 1678-79.

Not bothered by any historic sentiment and its unique artistic value, the Council of Nijmegen decided, some years ago, to replace them for a modern  décor. Luckily, the tapestries were saved and are shown now in the Valckhofmuseum in Nijmegen.


These tapestries were ordered  in Antwerp at the ateliers of the brothers Michiel & Philippe Wauters for this special occasion. The representation of the Europe myth shows Europe and the bull on land at the side of a bay and a second time with Europe on the back of the bull swimming in the water. Its size is 347- 412 cm.

Nijmegen, 1 july 2010                        Courtesy of the Museum Valckhof, Nijmegen


The boundaries of Europe have been under discussion from the moment it was recognized by the Greeks as a continent up to the present day. Perhaps the occurrence of artistic representation of Europe's symbol might give a clue, or contributes even more to its frontier problem? From the outskirts of Europe and beyond?

From the West of Spain, above the Portuguese frontier, at the seaside resort, Vigo, a triumphant Europe appears to mark its Atlantic boundary. A seven meters high bronze statue, placed in  1989, shows a proud Europe with the EU flag holding high, implying also the Western frontier of the European Union. Its sculptor is Juan José Oliveira Viétez.

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In the middle of Europe, Swiss visualized Europe in stone in 1918, but it stayed a dream in the Rosegarden of an old  cemetry in Bern. Its sculptor, Karl Hänny, lived from 1879-1972. 

In the East at the seaport Odessa on the Black Sea, Europe standing tall on the head of a volatile bull is looking out uneasily  towards the mainland of her continent. (Who can give me the name of the sculptor?)  (See Your Comments 2nd half 2012, photo 24_13)


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Further to the East, Europe, in a balancing act on the bull's head, appears to be pondering, what am I doing here on the Eastside of the Oeral mountains. Europe's symbol has been placed on the East-West junction of the Moscow -Siberian railway track at the Bridge Square of Krasnoyarsk City in july  2001. The sculptor is Alexander Tkachuk.

Brussels,  August 1,  an  EU traveller


In May 2000 the EU was looking forward to the year 2000 Olympics, again on the soil of its birth, Greece. In that month the European Union proclaimed its motto 'Unity in Diversity". Most importantly, the Lissabon economic goals were set. Against that spirit the German weekly, Der Spiegel of 29 May, 2000 presented a hopeful and confident Europe riding with her bull into the future. Europe is represented here by the French model, elected Miss Marianne 2000, Laetitia Casta from Corsica. The bull was desigend by Jean-Pierre Kunkel, the photographer Jeff Manzetti. When asked Laetitia Casta commented: "Europe should look ahead".



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In May 2004 ten new member states will join the European Community. Der Spiegel of 26 April, 2004 emphasises in a surrealistic design the importance of this event. The artist Rafal Olbinski illustrates how East and West Europe strike their hands together, bringing forth The New Europe. An exposition of his work was held in May 2004 in the European Parliament in Strassbourg.

Strassburg 1 september 2010               a visitor



The number of public statues of Europe and her Bullgod in Britain are rather limited. But in private circles the representation of Europe and lately of the European Union by its allegoric image is alive and kicking. Sculptor Althea Wynne from  , and fellow of the Royal Society of British sculptors, produced both a lifesize and a table size bronze statue of Europe and her bullgod.


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Both disappeared in the private sector. The lifesize statue shows a triomphal Europe on a powerful but obeying bull. The other statue the bull has the initiative and Europe seems surprised and frightened.

London, 2-10-10,                      your correspondent


Announcement: Exhibition  Princesse Europe  , Hôtel de Ville, Bruxelles, Oct 1- Nov.7, 2010


Collection Alain Roba         Exhibition catalogue   alainroba@skynet.be

includes: Heading of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights with an adapted oil of Fr.Boucher


Also from Alain Roba, this painting from Jean -François de Troy, 1679-1752, oil 66,5-82 cm

at an auction  by Senlis Enchère SVV, Cabinet Turquin, Senlis, France, 17 October 2010


Brussels, 5 October


INVITATION    Colloque Ass.Européenne 'D'Europe à L'Europe'; ETAT DES CONNAISSANCES

21-22 Octobre, 2010; Ecole Européenne de Bruxelles, Avenue du Chemin Vert, Bruxelles-Uccle



From early times on, Cyprus was a pivot in the trade triangle Egypt, Syria and Crete. They all had settlements on Cyprus. So it is not so strange that from the 7th century onwards images of the Europe myth have been found there. Already in Homer's time the myth was common knowledge among the Greeks. The Archaeological Museum of Nicosia possesses a modelled terra cotta, various coins, two Roman oil lamps and a polished agate, all with Europe riding a bull.


The Cyprian Postoffice issued in 2002 a stamp series featuring these images. Above left the agate (19,5-14 mm) from between 490-470 B.C.; in the middle a silver stater from king Timocharis from 405 B.C. and on the right a silver tetrobol from king Stasioikos I, 449 B.C. both about 2 cm. The second line on the left a Roman oillamp from 2nd c. A.D.,  in the middle, the terra cotta from around 600 B.C. and on the right a Roman oillamp of 2nd c. B.C. The large 50 cent stamp situates Cyprus between Crete, Egypt and Asia. The goddess is Aphrodite, born out seafoam on the coast of Cyprus. The poet Moschos, 2nd c.B.C. in his opening of his poem 'Europe' names her with her epithet, the Cypriote', inducing Europe to dream just before waking up.

November 1, Nicos Rangos, President of Cyprus Philatelic Society


   The Europe myth features on many objects of minor arts.

Below an albastern Victorian bracket-clock of about 50 cm high. Europe sitting on the bull on top is flanked by two Tritons. The dialplate is partly enameled. It was spotted on a Horta Art & Antique Auction in Bruxelles, 15th June,2010.


The Swiss Hans Erni, Luzern, 1909- ,is well known as illustrator, sculptor and painter. He made an abstract painting of Europe with bull (my book p.189). At the 20th year of the Foundation Pierre Gianadda, Erni was asked to illustrate a label of a Swiss Pinot Gris. It was a 1997 Pinot Gris, Caves Orsat S.A., Martigny Valais, Suisse



In the Netherland 5/6 December children receive gifts from St.Nicolas (Sinterklaas) and adults exchange gifts mostly within each family, accompanied by teasing, personal rhyms. A custom dating back to the Middle Ages. Below a surprise gift of marzipan by Sanne & Emma Gommers, Oegstgeest


Europe remaining popular among the youger generations.

December, 1              thanks to the contributors of the 2010 input