For comments mail p.h.gommers@outlook.com 



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





The Dutch Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Omgeving (for Health and Environment) at Bilthoven NL decided to embellish its building entrance with a sculpture of the Europa myth. Dutch sculptor Pieter d'Hont (1917-1997) was asked to propose and execute this commission. He started out designing a prototype. Accidentally, it was found in the Gipsotheek (Gypsumstorage) of the Museum at the Sea, in  Scheveningen (The Hague). The rough gypsum sculpture is about 25 cm high. but gives a nice impression of the end result


34_04        34_05


In first instance, the final statuette was supposed to be larger. So the sculptor made a iron frame of about 2 m high and 1.5 m long. i guess the little cross in top is the place of her head. Apparently, this was considered to be too big or over the budget.




The final result is this charmijng peaceful image of Europa sitting at ease on the back of her bull/Zeus. Still 75cm high and 50 cm long. Both the steel and the bronze representations are at the Institute.



October 1            from a curious tourist



Visiting beautiful barogue Prague in the middle of Europe, one cannot miss the stylish baroque palace of the Kinsky family at the Old Town Square. Originally, it was built for the Golz family between 1755-1765 in Rococo style. After Jan Arnost Golz death in 1768  it  was sold to the nobel family of counts and princes Kinsky of Wchinitz und Tettau from the kingdom of Bohemia. The princely status they obtained under the Habsburg rule in 1747. The Habsburgers had always European wide ambitions but these became definitely thwarted by Napoleon and the rise of the Prussian kingdom. From the balcony of the Kinsky Palace Gotwald held his infamous speech in 1948, which led to the Communist take over.

34_07    35_08


The palace architect is Kilian Ignaz Ditezenhofer, but others name Anselm Lurago. The statues on the roof and the reliefs in the two triangle tympana are from Ignaz Franz Platzer,1717_1787, court sculptor with many more sculptures in churches and schlosspark Schönbrun in Vienna. The European wide aspirations of the Austria emperium finds an expressive indication in the relief of the left tympanum, showing a forceful Europa steering swimming Bull-Zeus to her European destiny.

From 1949 it has become part of the National Gallery.



Prague, November 1,  Peter van der Lubbe 


Praque also features a number of interesting antiqueshops. Of course, some Meissen-type and other porcelan  statuettes of the Europa Myth can be found. Several look-alikes of the Meissen 18th century statuette ( see page/section 30, 2nd half 2015) were spotted. Europe's dress is often coloured differently from the yellowish colour of the original Meissen, and are probably from other factories. A peculiar problem poses the following statuette

th century 34_09                 34_10


Europa has a reddish cape hanging around her, not the yellish coloured cape of Meissen, suggesting a non-Meissen origin. But its mark  is very much Meissen's.  This type of mark was used, amongst others, between 1720 and 1784, but also between the second half of the 19th century. In such cases other indicators and research is needed to establish its origin and age.