Thursday, 10 September 2015

But where are the Swans?

I was in Antwerp, Flanders, recently and I thought I’d pay a visit to the city’s castle - the setting for Wagner’s Lohengrin. When Wagner eventually visited Antwerp in 1860, he realised that his ideas about its location were the rather wide of the mark (he imagined it was a fortress on a hill...). Here’s what the castle looks like today.

Its oldest sections date back to around 1200 (though built on an earlier site) and today only a fragment remains. It stands next to the mighty River Schelde and one of Belgium’s great  harbours.

It was presumably on the Schelde that Lohengrin arrived, his boat pulled by a swan.

Alas, there were no swans on the Schelde that day, so I visited the seaside resort of Blankenberge instead...

... to find where the swans had gone. I found them at an exhibition of work by the Flemish artist Roger Raveel at the city’s casino.

The exhibits included these splendid swans...

Raveel was one of the first Belgian artists to build work from everyday objects and the exhibition also included a magnificent painting through which one's own face can be displayed. 

                                                                     Photo © Marc Cauwenbergh

I wonder what Wagner would have made of it all...

1 comment:

  1. Of course Peter... now you still have to add a 'c' in a circle and my name (Marc Cauwenbergh) under the last picture. It will enhance the value of your blog considerably ;-)