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Louis  XIV, the French sungod, had to return the fortified German town Breisach on Rhine at the European peace settlement of Rijswijck (Netherlands) in 1697. His immediate reaction was the building of a new fortified town on the left bank of the river Rhine opposite the German historic Breisach. Neuf-Breisach became a startype fortified town; one of Vauban's most beautiful creations.

Breisach was bombed extensively in 1944, leaving the town largely destroyed. In 1950, during its reconstruction, the citizens of Breibach voted  in a referendum, about unanimously, in favour of  the creation of a European Confederation and declared their town to be a 'Europetown'. In 2000, fifty years later, the Breisacher artist  and sculptor, Helmut Lutz, unveiled his statue "Europe reaches for the stars"

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The statue is  about 2;5  by 4.0 m. The body of the bull is of marbre, his horns and Europe are in bronze.
The bull's face has an almost human expression. The artist turned the interpretation of the skygod Zeus into a god manifesting himself from down below through the broken up stone layer. Europe, the earthling, is reaching for the stars at the highest level of the town. In front of the old Münster Kirche, with Roman and Gothic features, the statue appears, in spite of its size, more modest.

This statue was used for the cover of a recent German study on the creation myth of Europe, with contributions of a number of scholars, edited by A.-B. Renger and R.A. Iszler, Bonn University Press, 2009.

July, 1    from    "Gründungsmythen Europas in Literatur, Musik und Kunst", Bonn  


A friend showed me a pamphlet describing the colossal ceramic  panel on the wall of the reception hall of the European Parliament building in Brussels, with in its center Europe riding bull-Zeus. The panel is mentioned in my study Europe - What's in a Name (p.184), but the artist is named there Antonio Sassu. Actually, he is the father of the Italian artist of this fenomenal artwork. The artist is named, Aligi Sassu, 1912-2000. The ceramic tiles are 50 by 50 cm and covers a surface of 150 square meter; the size of a normal apartment.The 583 tiles have been set on an aluminium frame. It was placed in 1993.

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The cover of the leaflet shows Europe and the bull, the centerpiece of this enormous structure. Bull-Zeus turns his head amorous towards Europe, On top we see the sun car drawn by white horses led by the sungod Apollo towards the future.On the left of the panel the twin halfgods Castor and Pollux controlling the action, like from their constellation Gemini. Meanwhile the Centaur Chiron fights the horned stag. On the right Ariadne, granddaughter of Europe, sleeps while attended by Venis accompanied by Hercules. . On the far end the Argonauts in quest for the 'Golden Fleece', Europe's golden future. 


Brussels 2, August   With thanks to Trudy



The 'Historisch Museum' of Rotterdam has a number of tiles with representations from Ovidius Metamorphoses made in Rotterdam in the well known Blue-Delft style (26_05). One with the Europe myth is from the Rotterdam factory of three generations Aalmis family. Its print is to be found in the 'Rotterdam Historisch Archief', designed by Jan Aalmis (26_06).

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The Tile is 13-13 cm, 7mm thick                                The archive number of the print is Gem. Arch. R'dam 3032

Apparently, Aalmis design has been copied from a Dutch edition of Ovidius Works (Alle de Werken van P.Ovidius Naso, Deel II De Herscheppingen ), translation by Abraham Valentijn, Daniël van Gaasbeek, Leiden, 1678. This edition has been illustrated by Coenraedt Decker, 1651-1685, with 32 designs, These works reappeared in 1693, 1697 and 1700 at the bookstore and editor Pieter Mortier, Amsterdam. The 1700 edition has 130 illustrations of Le Clerc. Designer and publisher of Ovidius in illustrations














Europe on the back of the bull in full sea. C.Decker is also known for his town-view designs, a.o. view of Delft.

More information on Dutch tiles with Greek myths can be had from the indebt study from Jan Pluis & Reinhard Stupperich, Mythologische voorstellingen op Nederlandse tegels, Primavera Pers, Leiden, 2011.


Rotterdam, 1 september 2013 


A tourist, enjoying beautiful Cyprus, entered a small bar-restaurant for an afternoon drink in the center of Nicosia.
Its walls were covered with wallsize paintings; modern, figurative but with the old mythical stories of Greece and Cyprus
And sure enough, one wall shows a more than human-sized torso of Europe with her shawl at the seaside. A small bull's head shows up at the left side, indicating Europe got all important.













e present visitor cannot  remember the name of the restaurant. Also the painter is un known. Who can help me with the name of the location and the artist's name????? The photo was taken in 2004. The restaurant is in the eastern part of the old city. The painting has been made after an oil of Guido Gagnacci, 1601-1663, Coll. Francesco Molinari Pradelli; Marano di Castenaso, Bologna.


October 1, Antwerp         -         Tony Waterreus -


A curious 18th century map was made and issued by the famous Dutch designer, engraver and poet, Willem Goeree. . He designed, among many others, the ceilings of the Baroque Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam. Earlier around 1690 he designed together with his father Jan two half hemispheres for the book Voor-Bereidselen Tot de Bijbelsche Wijsheid; a translation of the  original Latin edition, Telluris Theoria Sacra of 1681. This latter map of around, 1725-1730 shows again the two hemispheres with California as an island. Australia's East coast has been left out. In the middle above the so-called Earth-lumb (Aardkloot) is supposed  to show the earth after the biblical deluge, with all its mountains and its rugged territory seen from the air.              







As usual the allegoric representations of four continents with Asia and Europe in the middle enliven the map. Three of the four ladies can be recognized by a specific aninimal of that continent. Only Europe's namegiver had an historical background of more than 2000 year old, being the mythical Europa arriving with bullgod Zeus at Crete. She became the royal matriarch of the oldest European culture of the Minoans.










Brussels,  November 1,  A romantic bookdigger


 Winter is coming and so is the snow. Nowadays we see openair exhibitions  of phantastic ice statues and buildings. In earlier times this was done in years of abundant snowfall. In the winter of 1771/1772 Antwerp was covered with a lot of well binding snow. The Antwerp Art Academy organized with their students and sculptors huge snowfigures in the streets and courtyards of Antwerp. 24 of them have been engraved by A.Cardon,1739-1822 on the request of count Eugène Jean-Baptiste Robiano, member of the Council of Brabant. The sculpture of Europe and Zeus had been sculpted in the court-yard of Mr Pelgrom in the rue d'Hoboque (presently Pieter van Hoboken straat)   


The sculptor was Daniel Herreijns, 1725-1781. In 1750 he obtained his mastercharter of the Antwerp guild of artists. The sculpture was 2.70 meters high. He also designed a giant puppet of mainly papier-mâché (about 5 m high) for the town of Antwerp, representing Athnène-Pallas.

 see: Collections des Desseins, des figures colossales & des groupes, qui ont été faits de neige....dans la ville d'Anvers in 1772, edited by compte de Robiano, Eugène Jean-Baptiste.


December 1, 2013 the snowman