New location for statue Choephore
Following the celebration of Dordrecht 800 years in 2020, Dordrecht based artist Gerhard Lentink (Deventer, 1956) presented his proposal for the realization of an almost twenty one meter high statue at the tip of the so-called ‘Stadswerven’ where the rivers Merwede and Wantij merge. In the Middle Ages there was a huge wooden statue of a man holding the city banner at the entrance of the Wine Harbour, which was called ‘Hanneken van Dordt’. The statue was probably demolished in the early seventeenth century.
Lentink’s design involves a contemporary ‘reincarnation’ of the medieval statue in the shape of a young woman who carefully holds a large bowl in balance and moves a step forward with her right foot to bring a libation to the river which made the flourishing of the town possible. Her name Choephore means: ‘libation bearer’, the name is derived from the second piece of the Orestes trilogy of Aeschylos (Choephoroi).
The sculpture is constructed as an open structure of steel corner profiles, where only the bowl (diameter 4.44 m) is covered with wooden planks. The artist is looking for a “‘crane aesthetic’ that results in an ephemeral appearance, like a three-dimensional stained glass window without glass.”
The statue stands on an openwork, shelter-like concrete pedestal (height 4.88 m) in the shape of a ship’s bow. This consists of a cover plate supported by ten conical columns. The dimensions are related to those of the architectural elements in the immediate vicinity.
In June 2021 Lentink completed the over four meters high 1:5 aluminum scale model of the statue. This model becomes the ‘vehicle’ in discussions with constructors and implementers. In addition, it may play an important role in fund-raising campaigns. The scale model is exhibited in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Dordrecht,
The original location for the statue at the tip of the ‘Stadswerven’ has been rejected after a TNO report indicated that the sculpture could potentially disrupt the observation of four shore radars. At the request of the municipal council, Lentink made a new location proposal.
In this proposal, the statue will be moved back 500 meters to the heart of the district Stadswerven in the water of the river Wantij near Villa Augustus and the Kinepolis cinema complex. This new location is currently being investigated for feasibility by the Municipality.
“It seems to me a fantastic idea that the city of Dordrecht would have a worthy contemporary successor to the lost statue of Hanneken van Dordt following its eight hundred year jubilee in 2020. As a new icon for an age-old city. It must be possible to raise this vision to reality within five years.” The artist said.
On 11 April 2023, the municipal council approved the proposal with 36 votes in favor and 1 against to start as soon as possible with a first (exploratory) phase of the realization of the Choephore statue. The Hanneken van Dordt Foundation and the artist are now quickly entering into talks with the Municipality to make agreements about further development.
More information (in Dutch):
– Interview RTV Rijnmond (3 October 2019)
– Newsletter 12, September 2019 – pages 6-23
– Newsletter 13, July 2020 – pages 1-18, 20-21
– Newsletter 14, March 2021 – pages 1-9
– Een beeld voor de Stadswerven – documentary by Fokko van der Straaten, RTV Dordrecht (84 minutes)
– Newsletter 15, January 2022
– Newsletter 16, September 2022 – pages 3-6
– Newsletter 17, June 2023 – pages 2-5