I just saw the sad news about Dick Bruna, the creator of Nijntje/Miffy passing away yesterday. Discovering his work was one of the many joys I got out of living in Utrecht. As well as the Nijntje books and related pieces, he also did some great graphic design for other book covers. I picked up some of my favorites when I visited the Dick Bruna Huis (now Nijntje Museum).
I think I have one last Nijntje statue that I never shared. This one seems appropriate today, as it is half Nijntje and half Dick Bruna. It stands in front of the conservatory at Mariaplaats.
It depends on the side, which one you see:
At the base is a short poem dedicated to them both:
While visiting the Centraal Museum the other week, I came across two more of the Nijntje/Miffy statues as interpreted by various artists. The first one, appropriately, now stands outside the Nijntje Museum, which is across the street from the Centraal Museum. (One ticket gets you into both museums.)
The second Nijntje is a bit harder to see (thus the 1/2), as I took a photo of it through a window in the museum. It stands in the newly renovated courtyard. This one is particularly interesting, as it’s about four Nijntjes creating one. Unfortunately, I don’t have any artist information for these, but it’s nice to see a few Nijntjes still hanging around her home city.
On the Jaarbeurs side of the train station there was yet another Nijntje on parade last summer. She had a view of the recently completed new town hall building. This splatter version of Nijntje (called Nijntje!) was by Jurriaan van Hall. His approach was like that of a toddler, tossing colorful plaster to create something between painting and sculpture, all the while paying homage to her playful character.
Next stop on the Nijntje Parade is the Domplein, where two of the decorated, larger-than-life statue of Nijntje (Miffy) can be found. Even amid festivals and markets, the statues stake their claim.
This one seems a particularly good pairing. It’s titled Superguppie xx Nijntje, by Fleur van der Weel. She’s the illustrator behind the Superguppie books written by Edward van de Vendel. Her style blends well with Dick Bruna’s simple graphic style, not surprising, as she’s a fan of his work.
The vismarkt (fish market) might not seem the obvious spot for a somewhat glam rabbit, but that’s just where you can find this almost exotic looking version of Nijntje/Miffy. She’s certainly got a great view of both the Oudegracht and the Stadhuis. She hit the jackpot on location as part of the 60th anniversary celebration of Nijntje! She gets a lot of admirers, as well. This little girl seemed pretty enamored with her. Or maybe it’s just the name. This eye-catching rabbit has a mouthwatering name: Honeybun. She was painted by artist Barbara Wijnveld. She’s grown on me the more I’ve looked at her. Beautiful colors, and lines full of movement, but with an alluring stillness.
As part of the celebrations of Nijntje/Miffy’s 60th birthday, statues — decorated by a variety of artists — are showing up all over the city. Our Thinker on a Rock rabbit has been joined by a version of Nijntje decorated by Klaas Gubbels. His work, titled Canto Ostinato, is inspired by a painting of his by the same name. He, like Nijntje’s creator, Dick Bruna, works primarily in two dimensional images, although in this case, two two dimensions have been applied to a three- dimensional form.
Hopefully this week I’ll get a chance to show you some of the other Nijntje statues around town. I’m missing a few, but may be able to catch a few this weekend if I’m vewwy vewwy quiet.