I saw earlier this week that a statue of Pope Adrian VI had been installed in front of the Paushuize, so deciding on where to go for my long walk with Charlie this morning was a no-brainer. I’ve written about this pope and his house here in my blog and even for a magazine article, but if you need a refresher, Adrian/Adrianus was the one and only Dutch pope. He was born here in Utrecht and built a house here in town, though he never actually got to live in it. He died (was possibly poisoned) in 1523 and there wasn’t another non-Italian pope again until Pope John Paul II.
The statue, by Anno Dijkstra, is up on some fancy wooden blocks, but I assume it will be more permanently installed in the future. Or not. I honestly have no idea. (Ok, I wasn’t going to do any research, but I just couldn’t stand not to do some. It seems that the wooden blocks may be permanent. The statue, which was unveiled on Thursday, is made of bronze and was inspired by the portrait of Adrian done by Jan van Scorel.)
It’s been a spectacular weekend weatherwise. Lots of sunshine, warm temps, and general loveliness. Today, we went for a walk around town with plans to stop over at Ledig Erf for drinks in the sun. Of course, I think everyone else had that idea, because free tables outdoors were very hard to come by. We eventually ended up over at the Domplein. Still a pretty good view!
Our walk took us past the Spoetnikkijker, my beloved statue, and I couldn’t resist another photo of him, this time with a field of flowers spread out beneath him. He may not have been taking in the flowers, but he at least had a beautifully clear blue sky to enjoy.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted any photos of my beloved Spoetnikkijker (Sputnik Watcher), although I continue to take photos of him on a fairly regular basis. One of my recent batches fit this week’s photo challenge of focus so I thought I’d share some of them.
My own personal focus on this statue changes, depending on my mood, available lighting, and happy accidents. Sometimes I “focus” on a detail, other times I alternate between having the sculpture and the surrounding nature in focus. On this particular day, I was taking advantage of the dappled light and the canopy of trees to help draw the focus onto the sculpture itself. In some instances, with the focus on the sculpture, the light and leaves combine to create an organic, abstract background. (Although I wish the sculpture itself was a bit sharper.)
In this photo, because of the side from which I chose to photograph the sculpture, I ended up with a relatively bright image that creates a sense of thoughtfulness. However, by changing sides, with the light now behind me, the same blurred nature background suddenly creates a much more dramatic and eerie atmosphere. Suddenly the daydream quality of the first picture becomes more reminiscent of an Expressionist nightmare.
These many sides of the statue — brought out by a change in focus and season — are one of the many reasons it’s one of my favorite things to photograph anywhere here in Utrecht.
For those who are waiting for my next instalment about the godskameren, appropriately enough, I realized today that I need one more photo, which I’ll go get tomorrow morning. I should have the Agnietenstraat housing post for you by the afternoon. Promise!