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The 'Brouwershuis' (house of Brewers) was built in 1550. It includes a water distribution system for the many beerbrewers in Antwerp.The water, from natural sources outside Antwerp, was brought in through a pipe system. The Council Hall  includes a 'Delft' tile tableau of 1.80 m by 1.32 m or 165 tiles. The tableau originated most likely from a tile factory in Rotterdam. The picture shows two  mythical stories, on the left Io in the form of a cow, and on the right Europe carried away.

Io is guarded by Argus with the hundred eyes. But he falls asleep while Hermes plays the flute.


The Panel indicates as date, 12 November 1680 and shows the initials CVP. The museum bought the tiles in 1932. Given the initials
 it  probably originated from a well known beerbrewer Carel van Pruyssen, who had a brewery annex coopery in the same street.
The upper and lower ornamental friezes show abundantly his type of activity.
The design of  Io and Europe and her maidens appear to reflect similar prints by Hendrick Golzius. The tile designer/painter is unknown.



Lovis Corinth illustrated with 8 lithographs, Schiller's early poem: "Der Venuswagen", 1781. It was published by Fritz Gurlitt Verlag, Berlin, in  1919.
The poem describes how everyone's life is subject to continuing desire for lust and sensuality. But with chastity goes the mind 
- "Mit der Keuschheit fliegt der Geist davon"  - and only animality stays. It includes a warning against syphilis with, at that time, deadly consequences.
The 'Venus Charriot' stands for this drive for lust and Venus is her devilish source.
One of the lithographs is the well-known representation of Europe's story.                            

Only one or two verses appear to refer to Europe's adventure, and even than rather indirectly:

Corinth lovis

"With this cattle disguise in substituants
Often Zeus wonderfully fits in. Though,
Wish luck to sensible people's governments,
When the ruler is grazing the meadow. "


Apparently, he sees Europe here representing her people which are led astray by the godbull.

 Antwerp, January, 2013



The special Rafaël exhibition during the second half of 1912 in the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands
featured many drawings from the master and his pupils. The Albertina in Wien collaborated with, amongst others,
a yellow-brownish drawing of Europe and the bull by Baldassare Peruzzi, 1481-1536. It is suggested to be a
preparatory study for a fresco in the villa Farnesina in Rome.



However the Europe image in the Farnesina villa does not resemble at all the part of a ceiling fresco in the Salla della Prospettive
on the east wall. Left, there is Hermes guiding the herd; than the frightened lady-friends and on the right Europe sitting rather calmly
on the white bull already swimming in the sea.


Baldassare Peruzzi has also elaborated fresco's of Europe in Castello di Belcaro in the vicinity of Sienna (my study p.113).
On the ceiling of the Arcade in its garden there are three cupolas; one with images of the three graces; one with images of
Venus and one with Europe.

25_05                            25_06

The top ceiling shows Europe sitting on the bull, lying on the shore; Europe and the bull at sea and ships, apparently referring
to Herodote's interpretation of Europe carried away by ship. Around the top there are four decorations of Europe with bull in different postures.  

     25_07  25_08 

The individual Europe pictures show twice Europe on a bull, once on a fishlike bullcreature (according to Nonnos) and once (25-07) on a horse.
It is true sometime during the Renaissance when the four continents are symbolized, each continent is represented by a lady with accompanying animal,
like Asia with an elephant, Africa with a lion, Europe with a horse. The latter representation has no relation with the historically rich eponym
of the European continent.


February 1, 1013,     with thanks to Ellen Wolff, Haarlem       


The famous Book of Painters ( Het Schilder-Boeck ) by Karel van Mander, Haerlem, 1604, contains a chapter  concerning Frans Floris and his family.
His father was Cornelis de Vriendt, stone mason, sometimes called Floris. This name was taken up by his four sons.
The oldest Cornelis Floris, 1514-1575 was architect (townhall of Antwerp) and sculptor. Frans de Vriendt- Floris was a  famous Flemish painter, 1520-1570. He became very rich and his boosing became as famous as his paintings. Jan (Hans) Floris, † 1567, died young and became well-known as ceramist painter. He travelled to Spain in 1551 and worked for Philips II from 1562 in Talavera de la Reina.  The fourth son Jacob-Jacques Floris, 1524-1581, became glass painter ( glass and lead, glass burning). He made a.o. a church window in the St.Goedele in Brussels. The Rijksprentenkabinet of Amsterdam has  prints for wall decorations, one shows Europa on the bull in sea and
her friends gesticulating on the wall. It is 136 by 206 mm.
The ornamental designs are signed by Jacob Floris.

25_10          25_11

A Delft's blue tile painting appears to have been based on the design of Jacob Floris. It is attributed to Frans Floris, although  Jan Floris would be a more obvious choice. A complication is its thickness of 7 mm which is mostly found about 1650, a date almost hundred years after that generation of the Floris family. The only possibility is that the design drawing for the tile still existed and was used again in a later period. It would explain the rather crude execution of the design.
see  Mytholiogische Voorstellingen op Nederlandse Tegels by Jan Pluis & Reinhard Stupperich, Primavera Pers, Leiden, 2011

March 1, 2013

In French culturel circles Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963, was omnipresent . A multi-talented  Renaissance man, making his imprint
on the international cultural scène, as a poet, novelist, painter, playwright,actor, set-designer, cineast of avant garde movies. In 1961 he joined Mario Sciaky, industrialist and editor, in his project to complete the Europe of the politicians and administrators developping the European Community on the basis of the Treaty of Roms of 1958. They wanted to stimulate the participation of the European citizen in  'project Europe' on a more emotional and romantic basis: L'Europe du Coeur. Sciaky wanted an Europe stamp, which Europe citizen's could put on all their letters and postal communications. In 1960 Sciaky had already distributed 3 million picture stamps with the flags of the six member states amalgamated on each stamp.
In 1961, Jean Cocteau designed 13 new designs for stamps with human heads and one with the European myth. Probably, he remembered his saying:
 "Myth consists of lies which finally turn into truths". The lithographs carried all in writing the sentiment they wanted to diffuse to all citizens:
Nous croyons à l'Europe
ou l'Europe notre Patrie .
    25_12          25_13

The stamps were not given an official stamp status. Perhaps the Gaulle preferred a more French style slogan. Other preoccupations took over. Until the year 1979 when Mario Sciaky listened to the inspiring words of Louise Weiss at the opening of the European Parliament in that year. Sciaky decided to edit as yet Cocteau's never published designs, with the agreement of the Cocteau estate. He issued a study of the project of Jean Cocteau entitled, Nous croyons en l'Europe, of 600 prints on 'Ingres' paper by Arjomari-Prioux, Paris. The prints represented here are part of copyno. 192. Cocteau's lithographs have been printed according to the original size of his dessins, 32 - 40 cm. The edition includes two pages with unofficial stamps picturing his designs. One page with 54 stamps of 4.5-4.5 cm and 45 stamps of 6.0-4.5 cm. This study includes a lithograph of a portrait of Jean Cocteau in 1935 from an unknown artist.

Brussels, 2 April,  edition Mario Sciaky, Paris

Dutch artists and sculptors continue to be fascinated by the Europa myth. Jan de Graaf, 1948, Dordrecht, studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Plastics Art.
He concentrates mostly on bronze statuettes in figurative simple stylized manner. His animals are often voluminous, overblown in contrast to his human figures. His interpretation of the Europe myth shows perfect examples of his style.

25_14           25_15

26_16                    25_17

The higth of his statuettes are 25-26 cm. and eight copies have been made. Number 25_14 shows Europe lying  back to back. On number 25_16 Europe is lying face down, elbows bended and on 25_17 Europe lies reclined on his back. Does the overpowering seize of the bull indicates his  godly might?
Anothe sculptor, Evert van Hemert, 1952, is an autodidact painter and sculptor. He also shows the same type of voluminous figures, but here Europe appears to be riding her colossal partner.  

Mai 2, Utrecht,    Dr. Peter van der Lubbe 


Interest in the Europe myth of Nandipha Mntambo, born in Swaziland, 1981, originates from her artistic involvement with cowhides. She got her masters from Michaelis school of Fine Art in Cape Town in 2007. In her sculptures, video's, photographs she concentrate for subjects on the human body, its hide in relation to bulls. Of course Europe's tale fits in nicely in that type of imaginations.   
In this composition photo Mntambo tries to morphe into a bull with on her head  and face covered with bullskin and horns.
Showing figuratively her overpowering by the bullgod.

25_18    25_19

In the second composite photo she acts out both Europe and also the physically overpowering bullgod
In explaining this subject. It is said that Zeus takes Europe to one of the Greek isles. A rather short summary of the legend
and its meaning.

June 1, Sandra Gommers