Category Archives: Sculpture

The years of war: 1914

Monument to Belgian Army campaigns in Africa (Battle of Tabora)

Monument to Belgian Army campaigns in Africa (Battle of Tabora)

Monument to Belgian Army Engenieers coprs

Monument to Belgian Army Engenieers coprs

The title of this blog is Brussels throughout the years so lets have a look at some of the key years in the history of Brussels (and of Belgium and of Europe and of the world!).

One of those years that have left permanent “scares” in Brussels “stones” is 1914. The year World War I (la “Grande guerre” as they call it in French) began.

Here is a small sample of pictures I have taken with the year 1914. This is only a sample.

I took the first picture, displaying the year 1914, in the Square Vergote. This square is closely located to the NATO headquarters. On one side of the square there a monument to the Belgian Corps of Army Engenieers, especially to those who foought in the two World Wars.

Monument to the Belgian troops in Africa in Avenue Huart Hamoir (Brussels, Schaerbeek)

Monument to the Belgian troops in Africa in Avenue Huart Hamoir (Brussels, Schaerbeek)

I took the two other in Avenue Huart in Schaerbeek, one of the 19 “communes” of the Brussels Region. The first is a close up showing the year 1918. Tabora is the name of a  the capital city of Tanzania’s Tabora Region and is the place where the Belgian troops fought, against the Germans, the battle with the same name.

A very interesting statue

In summertime I use to have a short walk, after lunch, in the area surrounding my office. One of the spots where I use to strecht my legs is the square Marie-Luise.

The square is beautiful and has one distinct feature, namely a small ornamental lake with a fountain. There are other elements of decoration such as an statues. One of this statues is one called “Naissance d’une nation” “Geboorte van een natie”. It is signed by Marius Vos.

I did some research into the life of this sculptor and I found that he was the son of Hubert Vos and was born in Brussels where is father, a former publisher, was established as bookseller. Afterwards Hubert Vos migrated to the U.S. and became a U.S. citizen. His son Marius followed the artistic path and became sculptor. This statue was cut out for and shown at the U.S. pavilion for the Paris exhibition of 1937.  I found a picture of the statue at that location in page 71 of the August 9, 1937 of the LIFE magazine. The  caption of the picture read as follows:  “US art was represented by this group on the old theme The birth of a nation, by an obscure U.S. sculptor named Marius Vos. All statuary work in the U.S. pavilion was done economically by American in Paris.”

I wonder why the author of the article qualified Marius Vos as an “obscure U.S. sculptor”.

According to a booklet published by the city of Brussels, and titled “Promenades bruxelloises – Trois promenades à la découverte des monuments de la ville de Bruxelles”, the artist donated the statue in 1968 to Brussels, where he was born.  Originally the City Council had planned to plant the statue in the Heyzel Park, in the north of Brussels (where the “Atomium” is located). Ultimately,  it was decided to place the statue where it now stands. A curious detail reported by the tourist brochure is that the vegetation behind the statue helps to render less visible the back of the statue, which was considered as unfinished.

As a final personal consideration I want to add that when seeing this statue I thought that here, in the direct surroundings of the European Union another statue could stand, one that could be have the name “The birth of a union of nations”. Or could even think of a statue to “The death of nations”…

For those interested in this statue here are a few links to people who took pictures of it: