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During the Renaissance era a whole new artisan sector grew up in Western Europe, gold-leather wallcovering.
Through Spain this North African craft spread all over Europe. Still , walls covered with such panels can be found in musea and castels and patrician houses. It appears that on a small scale the craft is surviving, mainly for restauration purposes. The golden relief flower designs were sometimes completed with mythical, animal and human designs.




The above panel, 45 - 60 cm, was made in the original traditions of this craft by the only existing Dutch restorator of gold-leather objects, Frans Van Soest, Goudleeratelier Van Soest, Wateringen, NL
He brought in the panel above, the design of the Europa myth in relief and the Motto of the EU or its Rallying Cry:

                        IN VARIETATE CONCORDIA                          UNITED IN DIVERSITY



The Hague,  5 july,   your webmaster


Two British classicists, Simon Price and Peter Thonemann, wrote The Birth of Classical Europe, issued in 2010 by Allen Lane and in 2011 by Penguin Books. The Allen Lane bookcover shows the Greek, so-called Apulian plate with Europe hanging elegantly loosely with her arm around the bull's neck. In the Introduction, they start out with pointing to the huge steel, bronze and glass sculpture unveiled in 2005 in front of the European Parliament in Strassbourg. It is a clear symbol for the place of Crete in the history of Europe: since Europa later gave her name to the continent of Europe. The Minoan civilization on Crete marks the true beginning of European history; according to the writers.


34_02  34_02


On page 154 of the Penguin Edition it is pointed out that Europa, Cadmos and Agenor are pure Greek mythical figures, Few, if at all, Phoenicians would have been aware of their names before the third century BC. But during the Hellenisation of the conquered Asian regions by Alexander, Sidon issued coins from the second century BC showing Europa and the bull, as they were supposed  to be from Sidonian origin.


London, part of the continent,  august, 18            an adept reader 




Open Letter to Europe

At the Poetry festival  in Slovenia (versotheque.com) this summer, called Days of Poetry and Wine, a well-known European poet was invited to open the festival  with a spoken "Open Letter to Europe" for the first time. The letter will be translated in several languages and will be disseminated by international media and send to important world leaders.The Guest Poet was the well-known Stefan Hertmans, Gent, 1973.

Stefan was inspired by Europa with Zeus in bronze standing in front of the Museum of Medellin in Colmbia from Fernando Botero, who made several statues of Europa for public spaces in Europe in his particular style. 



In Stefan's Open Letter he remarks that " today exotic-looking young women are no longer brought to the West on the back of a white bull, but by ramshackle crafts and overcrowded leaky rubber dinghies. They are no longer admired by a Greek god, but are victims of people smugglers who fancy themselves children of Beelzebub. Europe's answer to offer hospitality to a single individual, becomes in front of a group, a refusal, a horde is seen as a threat. The abduction of Europa has turned into its opposite, namely her deportation. Today, dear Europa, the continent that bears your name, has landed in a deep crises. It looks like the true division in your continent is between two sorts of people; those who feel a heartfelt sense of helping the washed up refugees based on the cultural values of their continent.  and the others who want to treat you as 'barbaroi', those who cannot speak their language. Nation states don't seem to know how to cope with our modern problems. It are individuals who find ways to assist the sick and hungry, who adhere to the value of doing as they would be done by. It gives me hope to find one day, not a continent  hiding behind fearful  barbed wires but a strong, future -oriented one, where people meet in public spaces, with dance and music. There, Europa, I would want to find you."


Out of a 7-page powerful letter.
Amongst others, article in The Dutch, De Volkskrant, Saturday 26 august.


Amsterdam,  first September           your webmaster